Friday, May 31, 2019

three stripes cocktail

2/3 Dry Gin (2 oz Beefeater)
1/3 French Vermouth (1 oz Noilly Prat Dry) (*)
3 slice Orange (Cara Cara)

Shake with ice and double strain into a cocktail glass.
(*) Might be rather delightful with a blanc vermouth.
With my copy of the Savoy Cocktail Book still out after making the Salome, I returned to the tome to find another gem. There, I spotted the Three Stripes that appeared like a Dry Bronx but with extra better complexity from the orange peel. Once prepared, the Three Stripes shared an orange and juniper nose. Next, dry orange and white wine notes on the sip stepped aside for pine, bitter orange peel, and sweet orange juice flavors on the swallow. While the drink turned out well with dry vermouth, perhaps a hint of sweetness from a blanc vermouth might make the orange flavors pop more.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

:: jim meehan - reserve works tour ::

Yesterday I attended the Reserve Works Tour hosted by the USBG and Diageo where Jim Meehan spoke about topics in his Meehan's Bartenders Manual, constrasted it to his efforts producing the The PDT Cocktail Book, and hinted at his third book deal in the works. I will not try to cover topics that are better accomplished by reading his second book, but instead I will give interesting quotes and insights that we gleaned from this 4 hour session.
Jim described bartenders as simply custodians that sometimes make drinks. We basically clean; we cannot be too proud to clean because it reflects poorly on our establishment, our concepts of food safety, and our desire to retain guests who might not want to stay at a messy bar or at the mess in front of them. Cleaning builds integrity, and Jim compared it to the Karate Kid wax on/wax off scene (which he included in the beginning of his manual). Jim also declared that in the end, most of us will stop bartending for the physical, emotional, and psychological demands get harder as we get older. He described how the young bartender is like the duck where water droplets roll off its back, and how the older bartender is like a leaky roof. He concluded that part of his introduction by praising how bartending is one of the greatest humanity jobs of all time.
"My juicer is not meant to squeeze lemons, it is meant to start conversations." -- designer Philippe Starck
In terms of bar design, Jim pointed out how many of us work in bars where beauty was key and functionality was not considered; often these establishments were designed by an architect and not a bartender. Part of making people want to use a thing or come back to a place is aesthetics, but the functionality is very important.
"You cannot understand good design if you do not understand people; design is made for people." -- designer Dieter Rams
Jim praised the design of Drink in Boston. He described it as a bare knuckle fight in that there were no gloves of a menu or bottles on the back bar. Moreover, he commented how it was the greatest humanity experiment -- all the interactions were based on the bartenders, servers, and the guests themselves, and they did not rely on menus or on televisions to smooth the way. There is nothing else to amuse people besides the drinks and other humans save for "the weird bug display in back" (click here for a photo).

In terms of how we dress as bartenders, the uniform should give purpose and pride to the worker and not instill rage and shame. Furthermore, a bartender should dress themselves to make the range of guests feel more comfortable. This will include the businessman in a suit who will not feel the need to loosen his tie as well as the guest wearing a t-shirt to not feel under-dressed. People go out to watch the bartenders work, and there is a joy in watching humans make drinks fast and efficiently. Before Jim jumped into the techniques section, he mentioned that we need to make money for the business, and the desire to make boundary pushing cocktails will often be at odds with the bottom line. The choice of style and profitability is what you feel most comfortable with in the end.

Jim started the technique section by describing wine service and demonstrating how to pour a glass to guests to the left and right of him. Besides using an open hand technique to show the label, Jim switched hands to open up his body to that guest. If he cross-poured, it would show the guest his shoulder and seem more guarded; when he switched, he was able to provide more intimate or open service. Even in dive bars, a bartender can use this technique to pour Jagermeister shots. While Jim did not spend much time on describing the perfect mise en place, he did focus on that fancy French term for having everything in its place and prepared in advance. Definitely the more organized and prepared the bartender is, the easier it will be to get the drinks out. Jim also brought up the concept of prioritization where a good bartender will have a list of what needs to be done at the moment, 5 minutes ago, and 5 minutes in the future; and a better bartender will be able to project their needs 10 or more minutes in the future. Just like life, things come at a bartender hard and fast, and the bartender needs to adapt, rearrange priorities, and then be able to return to where they were. In addition, great bartenders are excellent problem solvers who do not view it as a burden; they look like they are having a great time being in it and having a million things to do. A good bartender will fall into the zone and own it. Overall, Jim suggested that there is no such thing as perfect technique: technique is improvisational; at its highest level, it is a window into the soul of the bartender. A bartender should find ways to make drinks to tell people what you are as a person.
"Every cocktail was invented by someone, so you have to imagine what it was that the creator wanted to achieve -- what he wanted, what he was looking for -- by creating this cocktail. Find out where and when the cocktail was created, and think about how much of your own personality you can blend into that." -- Kazuo Uyeda in Cocktail Technique
Jim pointed out that recipes are templates that can change over time and through improvisation. The Aviation was a good example as most people were making it without crème de violet since it was published in 1930 The Savoy Cocktail Book that way and crème de violet was absent from most bars. When David Wondrich found the original Aviation recipe in Hugo Ensslin's 1916 Recipes for Mixed Drinks, people latched onto the concept and wanted the liqueur to be made available again. However, many people soon learned to despise the drink made this way since the floral element makes the cocktail taste like soap. So perhaps the ingredient was lost over time since gin, Maraschino, and lemon was a more desired combination. Thus, change can come from adding or subtracting ingredients. A good example of adding was in Morgenthaler's inclusion of high proof Bourbon in his Amaretto Sour.
Jim exclaimed that a cocktail menu is a business plan by another name, Without a menu, servers and bartenders have to do everything, and a cocktail menu is like a script or instructions for guests to use the bar more readily and efficiently. Jim divides menus into three pillars that come out to 12-18 drinks total; opening a place with 10-12 drinks is a smart idea for it is easy to add drinks but awkward to shrink lists. However, with more drinks on the menu, the mise en place expands with the need for more cheater bottles, bitters, and garnish jars. The first of these pillars is the signature drink which has nothing market seasonal and is perfect all year round. They are the most popular drinks at the bar, and the guests will chose them and not the owners or bartenders. Ego cannot get in the way when figuring out this section. It will be the drinks that the guests like drinking, the bartenders like making, and the accountants like keeping for the financial aspects. The second is the cold and warm seasonal drinks that consist of hot toddies and stronger, richer drinks for the former and spritzes, Collins, and refreshing, hydrating lower ABV drinks for the latter. These are not the cost driving leaders; the bar can afford to make them but they are not drinks that can be done throughout the year. The final pillar is the limited edition. This is for the guest who asks "what's new?", for the cocktail geeks to see something unusual, for media attention by using new products (to get on list articles), and for depleting limited ingredients such as samples or small allocations of product. This last cluster will help the bar stay relevant to the press and to the cocktail nerds but will not be the money makers. Thus, the list will be a consideration of pour cost (the business aspect), the execution time, and the originality aspect. The list should not be viewed only as a recipe-driven combination but it should pay attention to other aspects of life. This where Jim brought us the concept of zeitgeist -- the spirit of the times, and creativity can come from cultural zeitgeist too. When considering menu items, bringing on too many local or terroir-driven ingredients makes it difficult to travel with or to replicate elsewhere (for example, PDT's Benton Old Fashioned made with an infusion from a single producer's bacon). Also, the drinks that stand the test of time often have fewer ingredients; the big ones like the Martini, the Manhattan, and the Margarita all have 3 ingredients in the recipe.

In the next section, Jim spoke about service and hospitality. In Danny Meyers' Setting the Table, Jim found that the book did not teach hospitality as much as it motivated the server to do better. Jim wondered about how to bring the concept to life? Hospitality is not something that you can train; it is something that your mom, coach, or other inspirational figure taught you. The concept is hard to track for it is how somebody made you feel. Hospitality is making someone feel seen and feel that they belong. Furthermore, hospitality is not trying to make everyone feel equal but trying to make them feel like they are the only people who matter. Service has a connotation with formality and with someplace trying to be fancy; service though is something that can be taught. The good practice of service leads to hospitality. Hospitality can include dressing properly, getting proper haircuts, not having visible piercing or tattoos that would discomfort the guests, and more. Overall, its the little things. Good karma such that good habits beget good habits, and personal connection such as through eye contact at key moments can also help. In addition, ritualistic things that suggest a fresh start are important to signify that we are taking care of you such as a warm towel to wash your hands at the beginning of a meal.

Jim focused that steps of service are not linear but they are a cycle that includes checking in and table maintenance. Jim differentiated that we do not serve drinks to people, we serve people with drinks. In mixology bars, the bartenders spend so much time washing tools and resetting that it is akin to a cat cleaning itself in full display and not caring. What we should be doing is cleaning the outside of the bar first before the tools: maintain the table first and then the station. The table is the commerce station of the guest, and the guest might want to leave if they have to sit in front of their filth too long. Also, do not stop table maintenance after the presenting the check; keep the water refills coming and be aware if they want to continue their experience by reopening a tab. As an aside, Jim mentioned that the guests might not want to talk to you: get over yourself. Finally, there are four places to say thank you: when the check is dropped, when you accept payment, when the slips or change are returned, and when the guests get up to leave.

In the question and answer section, Jim spoke of management. He described that when a manager is younger, they want to respected, and when they are older, they want to be liked. Instead, learn to build relationships so when there is a need to be gruff, there is humanity behind it. Also in terms of progression, when a manager is younger, they try to do leadership by example, and when they are older, they realize that they cannot do it all due to life and time constraints and they learn to be motivational and to delegate.

For more of Jim's words of wisdom, just go buy and read his Meehan's Bartenders Manual, and keep a look out for his third book!

zaza d'la whore

1 oz Dry Gin (Beefeater)
1 oz Dubonnet Rouge
1/2 oz Swedish Punsch (Kronan)
1/2 oz Pimm's No. 1

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with an orange twist.
After making the Salome from the Savoy Cocktail Book, I began thinking about the Zaza Cocktail, and the name Zaza d'la Whore popped into my head. That Zaza was not the Queen's favorite drink (equal parts gin and Dubonnet) nor named after a French play, but a character that we met in the neighborhood bar next to our bed and breakfast in the Marigny for Tales of the Cocktail 2010. Zaza d'la Whore loved being the center of attention, and she seemed worthy of a cocktail tribute. When I read a review of the new Dubonnet Rouge, I noted the currant and tea botanicals that were added to remake the American Dubonnet, and I thought that Crème Yvette and Swedish punsch would complement those two ingredients, respectively. However, that combination was too sweet with a 1/4 oz of Yvette (the gin was upped to 1 1/4 oz) and nothing to balance the sugar. Therefore, I swapped in Pimm's No. 1 to work with the Swedish punsch with the 1934 Pimmeron recipe in mind. Pimm's lacked the over the top berry and vanilla notes, but turned out to be a decent fill in with the gin and Dubonnet.
Above is a photo of the fabulous Zaza d'la Whore on our last night in New Orleans that year (the identity of the person on the right was swapped with Stan Jones visage for privacy's sake), so to her, we raise this glass! The Zaza d'la Whore cocktail flirted with orange and strawberry aromas. Next, grape and strawberry on the sip transitioned to gin, cherry, and tea flavors on the swallow. Overall, not a great departure from the Zaza, but here certain fruit and tea elements were accentuated.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

salome cocktail

1/3 Dry Gin (1 oz Beefeater)
1/3 French Vermouth (1 oz Noilly Prat Dry)
1/3 Dubonnet Rouge

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

Two Wednesdays ago, I was flipping through the 2016 Waldorf Astoria Bar Book and spotted the Salome. I had previously made the one that appeared in Jacques Straub's 1914 Drinks, and I decided to make the later variation from the Savoy Cocktail Book now that I had the new formulation of Dubonnet. Essentially this recipe was the Zaza (equal parts gin and Dubonnet) with a third equal part of French vermouth that I interpreted as dry vermouth to keep the sweetness in check.
The Salome Cocktail delivered an orange, cherry, chocolate, and pine aroma to the nose. Next, grape and cherry notes on the sip gave way to juniper, dark fruit, grape, and lemon flavors on the swallow. With the new Dubonnet formulation and a punchy gin, this was a rather elegant drink.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019


2 oz Gin (Tanqueray)
3/4 oz Lime Juice
3/4 oz Grenadine
1 dash Orange Bitters (Regan's)
1 dash Absinthe (1/2 bsp Butterfly)

Shake with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with a lime wedge (lime wheel).
Two Tuesdays ago, I reached for Michael Madrusan and Zara Young's A Spot at the Bar. There, I found the Professor as a note in the Gimlet section; the recipe without the absinthe is called the Debutante that they offer as a suggestion to Cosmo drinkers. Interestingly, the P.D.T. Cocktail Book lists another Professor that Madrusan came up with in 2007 that is a rhum-for-Scotch riff on the 1950s Chancellor Cocktail. This citrussy Professor gave forth an anise and lime bouquet to the nose. Next, berry and lime on the sip turned the page into gin, pomegranate, and absinthe's anise on the swallow. No great surprises here, but quite delightful of a Daisy regardless.

Monday, May 27, 2019

no. 2 fleet street

1 1/2 oz Gin (Tanqueray)
1 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Yellow Chartreuse
1/3 oz Simple Syrup 1:1
10 bean Coffee

Shake with ice, double strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with a dried pineapple wheel (omit) and 3 coffee beans.

Two Mondays ago, we purchased more pineapple juice in order to make the No. 2 Fleet Street that was just published in the May/June 2019 Imbibe Magazine. The recipe was crafted at The Barber Shop in Sidney, Australia, and the combination made me think of a gin Mr. Bali Hai. Moreover, the muddled (here, through shaking with ice instead of a muddler stick) coffee beans with pineapple juice reminded me of the Quechua and Loretto Swizzle.
Once prepared, the No. 2 Fleet Street donated coffee notes with hints of pineapple and lemon to the nose. Next, lemon and pineapple combined on the sip, and the swallow was a pleasing combination of gin, pineapple, coffee, and herbal flavors.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

to the moon alice

1 1/2 oz Gin (Hayman's Royal Dock)
3/4 oz Cynar
3/4 oz Fino Sherry (Lustau)
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Passion Fruit Syrup
1/4 oz Orgeat
1/4 oz Falernum (Velvet)

Whip shake, pour into a double old fashioned glass, fill with crushed ice, and garnish with a mint sprig.

Two Sundays ago, I was thinking about the Negroni-like Remember the Alimony in regards to how elegantly Cynar paired with Fino sherry. Soon, I thought about how well passion fruit and Cynar went together such as in the Turnbuckle, and the gin element plus the passion fruit conjured up the Saturn Tiki drink. Therefore, what if I were to mash these two together? The alimony made me think of a marital spat and the Saturn of a space theme, so I dubbed this one after the "To the Moon Alice!" threat often said in the Honeymooners television show.
To the Moon Alice shared a mint aroma that preceded a caramel, lemon, and tropical sip. Next, gin, passion fruit, minty-herbal, and nutty flavors rounded out the swallow. Overall, the end result fell somehwhere between the darker, savory Remember the Alimony and the brighter, tropical Saturn.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

tiki bowl

1 oz Light Puerto Rican Rum (Don Q Añejo)
1 oz Dark Jamaican Rum (Coruba)
1 oz Brandy (Camus VS Cognac)
2 oz Orange Juice (Cara Cara)
1 1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Orgeat (1/2 oz Orgeat + 1/2 oz Simple Syrup)

Blend with 1 scoop of shaved ice and pour into a Tiki bowl (whip shake, pour into a Tiki bowl, and fill with crushed ice). Garnish with a gardenia (orange twists).

Two Saturday nights ago, I began flipping through Trader Vic's 1974 Rum Cookery & Drinkery book and spotted the Tiki Bowl that was demarcated as one of Vic's originals. Essentially, the Tiki Bowl was a Scorpion Bowl with a darker rum added and different proportions of rum to brandy and orange to lemon juice. Vic's Tiara Tahiti was also a tweak on the proportions of these four ingredients, and the Fog Cutter simply added in gin and a sherry float to the general mix.
The Tiki Bowl proffered orange, nutty, and caramel notes to the nose. Next, a lemon, orange, and caramel sip flipped into funky rum and nutty flavors on the swallow. Indeed, the dark Jamaican rum added some pizzazz to the Scorpion Bowl format by adding caramel and funky elements to the basic structure.

Friday, May 24, 2019

brown derby

2 oz Bourbon (1 1/2 oz Four Rose Yellow + 1/2 oz Wild Turkey 101)
3/4 oz Grapefruit Juice
1/2 oz Honey Syrup 1:1

Shake with ice, strain into a coupe glass, and garnish with a grapefruit twist.

After writing up the An Englishman, a Frenchman, and an Italian Walk into an L.A. Bar, I was reminded that I have never written up the Brown Derby. Perhaps, I have never had a proper one despite having riffs like the Union Derby with Drambuie for the honey syrup, the Honey Fitz where Jackson Cannon subbed in rum, and the Black Derby with mezcal (and a touch of cinnamon syrup) in place of the Bourbon. The original was created in the 1930s at the Vendome in Hollywood in honor of the nearby Brown Derby restaurant which had its own drink program best known for crafting the Honeymoon Cocktail. For a recipe, I sourced mine from Robert Simonson's 3-Ingredient Cocktails book.
In the glass, the Brown Derby welcomed the nose with a grapefruit and Bourbon bouquet. Next, honey-floral and grapefruit notes on the sip gave way to a Bourbon swallow with grapefruit and honey flavors on the finish.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

the showdown

3/4 oz Smith & Cross Rum
1/2 oz Blackstrap Rum (Cruzan)
3/4 oz Simple Syrup 1:1
1/2 oz Angostura Bitters
1/2 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe (cocktail glass).

Two Thursdays ago, ImbibeMagazine published an Angostura Bitters-heavy recipe called The Showdown. The drink was crafted by Jeff Baumann of The Great Northern in Burlington, Vermont, as his rum cocktail inspired by the Trinidad Sour. Baumann described how it showcases "bold flavors all around that find a way to work together for a delightful balance."
The Showdown showcased a Jamaican funk, allspice, and cinnamon nose. Next, lemon and the blackstrap rum's caramel mixed on the sip, and the swallow proffered flavorful rums, molasses, clove, woody, and allspice flavors.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

banankin's downfall

1 1/2 oz El Jimador Reposado Tequila
1/4 oz Mezcal
1/2 oz Giffard Banane du Bresil
1/2 oz Tempus Fugit Crème de Banana
1/4 oz Amontillado Sherry
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with cracked ice, pour into a rocks glass, top with crushed ice, and garnish with freshly grated cinnamon.
Every year around May the Fourth, Backbar in Somerville changes into "Ackbar" and does its annual Star Wars week. On Wednesday of that week from their themed menu, I selected the Banakin's Downfall that was subtitled "before he turned into Vader, he was sipping Margaritas." When I asked Sam Treadway for the recipe, I inquired why there were two banana liqueurs in the mix. He replied that the Giffard was for brightness while the Tempus Fugit one was for caramel notes and depth. Once mixed,the Banakin's Downfall greeted the senses with a banana and cinnamon bouquet. Next, lime and caramel on the sip led into agave, hints of nutty and spice, and boat loads of banana flavors.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

the ticket that exploded

1/2 oz Mezcal (Fidencio)
1/2 oz Funky Jamaican Rum (Smith & Cross)
1 oz Lillet Blanc or Cocchi Americano (Cocchi Americano)
1/2 oz Campari
1/2 oz Benedictine

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

Two Tuesdays ago, I decided that I wanted to do a William S. Burroughs tribute cocktail, and I looked through his bibliography. There, I spotted The Ticket that Exploded -- one of his 1960s cut-up novels that was part of my first Burroughs literary experience: The Nova Trilogy. I then decided to craft a cut-up Negroni of sorts that was rough around the edges, and the end result was no longer a Negroni but something parallel. Burroughs' anti-utopian themes made me think of things funky and smoky so I opted for a split base of Jamaican rum and mezcal. To sooth over the rough edges, I split the Campari with Benedictine which was something that I had experienced in the Phoenix Feather. And finally for the aromatized wine element, I opted for Cocchi Americano to return some of the citrus notes lost in cutting back on the Campari.
The Ticket that Exploded controlled the nose with orange, smoke, and citrus aromas. Next, orange and peach notes subverted the sip, and the swallow exploded with vegetal agave, funky rum, bitter orange, herbal, and smoke flavors.

little darling

1 1/2 oz Appleton Rum (perhaps Select or Reserve)
1/2 oz Punt e Mes
1/2 oz Amontillado Sherry
1/2 oz Frangelico
1/4 oz Giffard Banane du Bresil
1 pinch Salt

Shake with ice, strain into a rocks glass, fill with ice, and garnish with an orange twist.

As I nearing the end of one of my drinks at Green Street, Jordan Runion gifted me his Little Darling that he wanted me to try. In looking through the dusty bottles on the shelves, Jordan spied Frangelico and wanted to put it to use on the new menu. When I posted this drink on Instagram, someone asked what could be used in a pinch to replace Frangelico, and I suggested crème de noyeau, amaretto, or perhaps an artificially flavored orgeat like Giffard. Here, the flavor profile was rounded out by sherry, bitter vermouth, and aged rum.
The Little Darling presented an orange, rum, and nutty aroma to the nose. Next, grape and caramel mingled on the sip, and the swallow offered rum that was colored by banana and Frangelico's nutty flavors.

Monday, May 20, 2019

sherry cobbler

1 1/2 oz House Sherry Blend (*)
3/4 oz Orange Juice
3/4 oz Raspberry Syrup (**)

Build in a snifter glass, fill with crushed ice, and swizzle to mix and chill. Garnish with 5-6 dash Regan's Orange Bitters and an orange twist.
(*) 2 parts Oloroso, 2 parts Amontillado, 1 part Pedro Ximenez, and 1 part Manzanilla. To make the 1 1/2 oz à la minute: add 1/2 oz, 1/2 oz, 1/4 oz, and 1/4 oz, respectively.
(**) Not a full 1:1. Made with one part raspberry, one part water, one part sugar.
For my second drink at Green Street, I tried Jordan Runion's take on the classic Sherry Cobbler where he subbed in orange juice for the muddled orange slices and raspberry syrup for the sugar in Jerry Thomas' recipe. In this preparation, the double dose of orange from the twist and bitters hit the nose right off the bat. Next, orange, grape, and berry notes on the sip gently slid into raisiny and nutty grape blending into raspberry flavors on the swallow.

the cameo

3/4 oz Plantation Original Dark Rum
3/4 oz St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram
3/4 oz Giffard Orgeat
3/4 oz Lime Juice

Shake with ice, strain into a rocks glass, fill with ice, and garnish with a cherry-orange slice flag.
Around three weeks ago, bartender Jordan Runion messaged me that he had returned to Green Street in Cambridge to take over the cocktail program. After figuring out his schedule, I decided to visit him two Mondays ago. From the revamped small cocktail list, I selected the Cameo that Jordan attributed to his coworker Ann. Jordan's thought was that Green Street used to have a Caribbean food menu when Dylan Black took over the establishment, and Jordan wanted a Caribbean-themed Last Word-like drink on the list to represent that. The end result was the Cameo which reminded me of a less spirit-forward A Tale of Two Kitties; once prepared, it greeted the nose with a nutty almost marzipan aroma. Next, lime countered by the orgeat and allspice dram's richness on the sip led into rum, nutty, and allspice flavors on the swallow.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

8th arrondissement

1 1/2 oz Cognac (Camus VS)
1/2 oz Grenadine
1/2 oz Amer Picon (Torani Amer)
1/2 oz Lemon Juice

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

Two Sundays ago, I was thinking about the Ward 8 for it came up a few times during Thirst Boston the weekend before. One of my major problems with the earliest recipe of the 1898 drink appearing in Robert Vermeier's 1922 Cocktails: How to Mix Them is that the orange juice clashed with the oaky American whiskey. Yvonne's which resides in the old Locke-Ober space where the classic was created got around that point by utilizing Palo Cortado sherry as a flavor bridge in their version. I pondered what other spirits might work well here, and my eyes drifted over to the Cognac section of my home bar. With a French theme, perhaps substituting Amer Picon for the orange juice might work especially given how well grenadine and Amer Picon pair in some of Trader Vic's recipes like the Jayco and Philippine Punch as well as older recipes like the Swanee Shore and Bronco. Moreover, the swap reminded me of Paul McGee's recipes at Lost Lake, such as their Fog Cutter, that sub dry curaçao for orange juice (Paul's avoidance of orange juice is different than mine and explained in the link). For a name, I dubbed this one the 8th Arrondissement which is the part of Paris that contains the Champs-Élysées.
The 8th Arrondissement greeted the senses with an orange, berry, and Cognac bouquet. Next, lemon and berry swirled on the sip, and the swallow conjured up Cognac, bitter orange, and pomegranate flavors with a tart lemon finish. Overall, the end result was very different than the Ward 8, but the French ingredients certainly worked well together.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

an englishman, a frenchman, and an italian walk into an l.a. bar

2 oz Knob Creek Rye (Rittenhouse)
1 oz Grapefruit Juice
3/4 oz Honey Syrup 2:1 (1:1) (*)
1/2 oz Campari
1/2 oz Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth (Martini Gran Lusso)

Shake with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with orange oil from a twist.
(*) James mentioned that the drink came out a bit sweet, so I reduced the honey syrup strength to 1:1.

During Brother Cleve's walking tour of Boston during Thirst this year, I met cocktail enthusiast James Wallace, and we got on the topic of creating cocktail mashups. He mentioned that he won a competition, namely the Thirst's 2016 At-Home Bartender Challenge, with a mashup of a Brown Derby and a Boulevardier. I requested that he send me the recipe, and after he did, I was able to find an article about it in BostonMagazine to fill in the rest of the details. James mentioned that his recipe was influenced by the 2 oz minimum of the rye sponsor, so that is why he went with that volume (and why the total volume ended up so large) and with rye whiskey instead of the Bourbon that is the base spirit in both of the classics. For a name, he dubbed this one An Englishman, a Frenchman, and an Italian Walk into an L.A. Bar. Most likely, the Italian references the Campari and sweet vermouth here, or perhaps it points to the Negroni lore, and the L.A. Bar part is an allusion to the Vendome in Hollywood where the Brown Derby was created in the 1930s and named after the nearby Brown Derby restaurant. In addition, the Boulevardier was crafted by Erskine Gwynne, an American-born writer who published a magazine in Paris called the Boulevardier during Prohibition. Also, the Boulevardier's recipe was first published in bartender Harry McElhone's Barflies and Cocktails, and McElhone left Scotland and later England to open a bar in Paris; so perhaps those are the French and English aspects in this drink name.
In the glass, the drink proffered an orange oil aroma over grapefruit juice and Campari's bitter orange notes. Next, a grapefruit, honey, and grape sip led into rye whiskey and softened bitter orange flavors with a honey and grapefruit finish.

Friday, May 17, 2019

tale of two roberts

2 oz Blended Scotch (Cutty Sark Prohibition)
1 oz Cinzano Sweet Vermouth (Martini Gran Lusso)
1/4 oz Benedictine
2 dash Pontarlier Absinthe (1/2 bsp Butterfly)

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

Two Fridays ago, I delved into The Waldorf Astoria Bar Book by Frank Caiafa. There, I was lured in by the Tale of Two Roberts which was Caiafa's combination of two of the three most common Bobby Burns variants: namely the Rob Roys that include Benedictine and absinthe, with the third one, the Drambuie option, only included in the commentary. The original Bobby Burns' genesis was attributed to the Old Waldorf Astoria bar itself and the recipe was included in the 1935 The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book as the absinthe variation, while the Savoy Cocktail Book a few years later published it as the more popular Benedictine one.
In the glass, the Tale of Two Roberts welcomed the nose with lemon, smoke, and anise aromas. Next, grape and malt on the sip sallied forward with Scotch and herbal flavors on the swallow with an anise and smoke finish.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

hummingbird down

2 oz Tanqueray Gin
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Honey Syrup
1/4 oz Green Chartreuse

Shake with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with a mint leaf.

Two Thursdays ago, I reached for the Stir Your Soul book that contained the recipes from the 2009 Tales of the Cocktail event. The drink that called out to me was Chad Solomon and Christy Pope's Hummingbird Down that came across like a Bee's Knees crossed with a lime-less Green Ghost. The Regarding Cocktails book in the section containing the Rye Hummingbird discussed how Sasha Petraske was a fan of modifying the Bee's Knees such as swapping the citrus to lime to generate the Business, and this pushed Chad Solomon (and perhaps Christy Pope was involved but not mentioned there) to add Green Chartreuse to the mix; the Rye Hummingbird was Marcos Tello's next step in the progression by changing the base spirit to whiskey.
The Hummingbird Down offered mint, Green Chartreuse's herbal, honey floral, and juniper aromas to the nose. Next, lemon and honey mingled on the sip, and the swallow followed up with gin flavors leading into bright herbal ones from the Chartreuse.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019


3/4 oz Smoky Scotch (Cutty Sark Prohibition)
3/4 oz Barbados Rum or other aged Caribbean (R.L. Seale 10 Year)
1 oz Punt e Mes
1/2 oz Zucca or Sfumato (Sfumato)
1 dash Chocolate Molé Bitters (Bittermens)

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

When thinking of combinations to tinker with, my mind drifted over to Punt e Mes and Sfumato Rabarbaro which was one that I had with Zucca Rabarbaro in the Search for the Cure and the Sad Waltz of Pietro Crespi. With the Punt e Mes and herbal liqueur, I wondered if it could work in a 1919-inspired cocktail. With that structure, I kept the rum although changed it to one less caramel-driven than Old Monk, but I switched the whisk(e)y from rye to Scotch in remembering how well smoky whisky worked with a rabarbaro in the Caustic Negroni. For a name, I dubbed this one the 1872 after the Great Boston Fire similar to how the 1919 was named after the Great Molasses Flood.
The 1872 ignited the olfactory senses with orange and smoky herbal aromas. Next, grape, malt, and roast notes crackled on the sip, and the swallow burst out with rum, smoke, and bitter herbal flavors with a chocolaty finish.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

three-piece suit

2 oz Reposado Tequila (Cimarron)
1 oz Oloroso Sherry (Lustau)
1/4 oz Simple Syrup
2 dash Orange Bitters (Regan's)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe.
Two Tuesdays ago, I reached for Maggie Hoffman's Batched Cocktails for a recipe that I could scale down to a single serving. There, I was lured in by the simplicity of Steve Huddleston's Three-Piece Suit that he created that Parcel 32 in Charleston, SC. Once prepared, the tequila offered up vegetal agave aromas and the sherry shared nutty grape ones. Next, a semi-dry grape sip gave way to agave, nutty grape, orange, apricot, and vanilla flavors on the swallow.

Monday, May 13, 2019

fort nelson crusta

1 3/4 oz Michter's Bourbon (Michter's Straight Rye)
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/4 oz Honey Syrup
1/4 oz Demerara Syrup
1/4 oz Yellow Chartreuse
3 dash Creole Bitters (Peychaud's)

Shake with ice, strain into a narrow sugar-rimmed glass, and garnish with a long wide lemon twist around the glass' interior.
Two Mondays ago, I decided to make a recipe that I had spotted on the Michter's Whiskey Instagram called the Fort Nelson Crusta. They named the drink after the century old Fort Nelson building in Louisville where they recently built their distillery, and they serve this number in their distillery's bar. Once prepared using their rye instead of their Bourbon (which I lack), the garnish offered up a lemon aroma that preceded a lemon and honey sip. Next, whiskey, herbal, anise, and light cherry flavors swirled on the swallow.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

:: beyond the 50/50 ::

One of the talks that I attended on Sunday at Thirst Boston was entitled "Beyond the 50/50" by Jake Parrott of Haus Alpenz importers and Jared Sadoian of The Hawthorne bar here in Boston. The concept of the session was "weird thoughts about pairing the right aromatized wine for your gin" that was demonstrated with four gins and aromatized wine pairings. The idea was that if you found the right pairing of botanical distillate and aromatized wine, it would make for easy porch drinking requiring only approximations of measurements. Jake pointed out there were there were so many combinations, and while many of them were right, some were extraordinary. As the room was being set up and before the session even began, Jake entertained us with a porrón filled with Miro dry vermouth and tonic water. During the talk, the rule was that the porrón had to keep moving (even if you did not want to drink, you still had to pass it) which made for an entertaining sideshow as the talk progressed.
The four combinations were: Hayman's London Dry Gin paired with Miro Extra Seco Vermouth, Haymans Royal Dock (Navy Strength) Gin with Dolin Rouge Vermouth, Bully Boy Estate Gin with Cocchi Americano Rosa, and Berkshire Mountain Distillers Barrel-Aged Ethereal Gin (Batch #3) with L.N. Mattei Cap Corse Rouge Quinquina.
Instead of describing the details of each pairing, let us get at the heart of why these pairings work. Every intense botanical has a critical characteristic that stimulates a part of the tongue more than others. Every part of the tongue can only be stimulated so much in a sip. Indeed, one way to balance simple drinks is to balance the stimulation across the tongue. A mixture that maps well across the tongue has a great sense of seamlessness to it. If the drink does not map well, it will need to be either very sweet or very dilute. But if it does map well, it can handle dilution whether through soda water or vodka as a spirit base and still maintain interest. Jared pointed out that at the Hawthorne, when testing out new drinks, they split the shaken or stirred drinks into two with half going into a cocktail glass and half going on the rocks. After many minutes, they return to the drink to see whether a more dilute but cold drink is more pleasurable than a warmer one, and with this information, they select the serving style and glassware.
Here are some random interesting quotes:
• "Blanc vermouth is the great texturizer and the great entry drug [for drinking vermouth]."
• On the Vesper Martini: "Why would you drink an 8:1 drink? Ian Flemming wanted to portray James Bond as a drunk." (my thoughts on the Vesper share other confusions about the recipe)
• On the strawberry, "The bitterness of the seeds is why you eat a second strawberry. And this bitterness is why strawberries are great in cocktails."
• "Grapefruit reduces the perception of bitterness."
• On how oak tannin is effected by temperature of the drink: "Manhattans should be served at cellar temperature and close to that of red wine." And Jake explained that a good Manhattan can be made with cold vermouth, cold water, and no ice.
• "People love watching people stir drinks. It's one of the reasons people go out to [cocktail] bars."
• "In the 1850s, quinquina was the CBD of the era -- it [was believed to] fix anything."
• "Caramel is what makes sweet vermouth red but it [or the amount of it] is a lifestyle choice." For example, Dolin Rouge is light on the caramel opposed to many Italian vermouths that can be rather heavy handed with it.

Saturday, May 11, 2019


For an afternoon talk at Thirst Boston two Saturdays ago, I joined in on Brother Cleve's Walking Tour of Boston. There was certainly a lot of history packed into this hike, and a lot of insight of what it was like turning 18 -- the legal drinking age in Cleve's youth -- way back when. Cleve did reveal that his first drink in a bar came back at age 16, but places were not as strict as they once were. The tour included places of old (and some still existent) jazz clubs, gay bars, dives, punk rock venues, mob hit sites, Tiki bars (note: multiple!), cruising venues, movie theaters, and more. Such a wealth of lore about a Boston that once was. And in some cases still is. Sometimes, you could see how the front of a Chinese restaurant used to be the grand marquee of a movie theater, and other times the location was razed to put a tower in like some of the seedier strip clubs on Lagrange Street. In the photo below, Cleve was giving the history of the street but the only two baudy places still in existence there were on the side that was not leveled. The Glass Slipper was on that now defunct side before being moved across the street, and we were all amused by the sign that read, "The Glass Slipper where every gentleman is a VIP..."
Earlier, we passed by the plaque that told the history of the Cocoanut Grove Club that burned down in one of the largest nightclub fires in 1942. Up the street was the brick barn-like front to the old Napoleon's where older men sang show tunes at the piano bar and where younger men searched for their sugar daddies; Judy Garland spent her last days there in 1969 drinking her way away. Up the street is the city's oldest gay bar, Jacque's, that opened in 1938 before it turned into more of a female impersonator club in the 1940s until present day. Places that were also razed included Herbie's Ramrod Room, a leather bar that moved to the Fenway area, and the Hillbilly Ranch, a rough Honky Tonk that luckily never reopened elsewhere in the city. The lost Tiki establishments included the South Seas on Harrison Street that lasted from the 1960s until the 1980s, Bob Lee's Islander that lasted during that same era and sported a psychedelic interior, and a Trader Vic's that was in the old Hilton Hotel that became the current Park Plaza.
1 1/2 oz Writer's Tears Irish Whiskey
3/4 oz Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth (Cleve prefers Cinzano though)
3/4 oz Green Chartreuse

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

The final stop was at Explorateur in Boston that used to house a Masonic lodge at the edge of what was once the Combat Zone. There we partook of one of Cleve's favorite Irish whiskey drinks, the Tipperary, that honored the tour's sponsor, Writer's Tears Whiskey. The Tipperary originally appeared in Hugo Ensslin's 1916 Recipes for Mixed Drinks as an equal parts drink sans garnish that was the Irish whiskey take on the gin Bijou from Harry Johnson's 1882 New and Improved Bartender's Manual. Here, Cleve dried out the drink by bringing the whiskey forward into a 2:1:1 ratio instead of the classic's 1:1:1, and he added an orange twist. No great surprises here with the Irish whiskey forming the backbone to the sweet vermouth's richness and the Green Chartreuse's herbal notes.

:: tiki through a polynesian lens ::

The first talk that I attended at Thirst Boston was entitled "Tiki Through a Polynesian Lens" and sponsored by Patron Tequila. The seminar was delivered by West Coast bartender Sam Jimenez who has worked at Prizefighter, Interval at Long Now, and Striped Pig and is about to open Here's How in Oakland. Sam's heritage is half Samoan and half Mexican that he described as Akafasi meaning "half of one" (or half Samoan/Polynesian). He began with the premise that Tiki bars utilized symbols that he was familiar with, but they executed them differently that he was used to being brought up in the culture.

Sam ran through the history of Tiki to set up the genre. The timeline is better read elsewhere including in Beachbum Berry's books than I can do right now, so here are more of the salient aspects. Tiki began in California right after Prohibition. During this time, Hollywood blossomed and offered escapism and exoticism especially escapism from the harsh times during the Great Depression. People were willing to spend their money on escape but could only do so locally instead of through travel. Sam put up a quote from Sigmund Freud that read:
Life as we find it is too hard for us; it entails too much pain, too many disappointments, impossible tasks. We cannot do without palliative remedies. We cannot dispense with auxiliary constructions, as Theodor Fontane said. There are perhaps three of these means: powerful diversions of interest, which lead us to care little about our misery; substitutive gratification, which lessen it; and intoxicating substances, which make us insensitive to it.
Sam continued that escapism is not inherently bad. These Polynesian restaurants became places of status especially with the amount of money sunk into decorating them. Many people could not afford to travel across the ocean during the Depression; moreover, people had a lot of interest in the area due to the media's influence whether through music or through Hollywood that set many movies in the late 1920s and early 1930s in the South Pacific. World War II added to the interest for soldiers coming back from the Pacific front wanted to return to innocence by experiencing familiar aspects without the cloud of combat lurking overhead.
With this exoticism came a focus on colorful and unusual traits considered characteristic of these foreign lands. When these traits were exaggerated, it became racist. Sam brought up the idea of "othering" which engenders marginality and persistent inequality based on group identity; here, self is anything that you identifiy as similar to yourself and everything else is other. Othering does not have to lead to racism just as exoticism does not have to lead to negativity, but these do occur through exaggeration and inaccuracy. Finally, Sam brought up that you cannot unlearn things such as when something is wrong. In terms of Tiki, most people doing the style have little experience in Polynesian culture, so the ideas do not trigger things internal to their development and culture.

Sam described that Oceania is a series of islands united by the sea that could be broken down into three regions: Polynesia, Micronesia, and Melanesia. Polynesia is the most familiar for it has the most United States military outposts and has a lot of lighter skinned people. These great seafaring people migrated from Taiwan throughout the South Pacific, and there is evidence that they made contact with South America and procured the sweet potato from there. In worshipping gods of the sea and nature, they carved statues of these gods out of wood; these sculptures would later become known as "Tiki." The American Tiki culture born in California in the 1930s was built more on Polynesian culture with some borrowing from Micronesian and Melanesian ones as well.

The history of Oceania cannot be discussed without mentioning the effects of colonialism. This falls under three aspects: economic exploitation, exploitation of defense, and colonization of education. For the first, agriculture such as sugar production in Hawaii was a major draw for continental countries to seek out the islands as a means of profit. For the second, many countries including France and the United States wanted to use the Pacific for military presence. For some, it was a first line of defense as well as an area to test out nuclear bombs to the detriment of those displaced or too close. For the third, when islanders learn American or European culture instead of their own, they lose sense of themselves and begin to view the island culture as "other." Children there are not taught about their own history or things that make them valuable.
A lot of the imagery of Tiki culture can be seen in Trader Vic and other restaurants' menus with the oversexualization of women, infantilism, savage behavior, and servitude to white people. This view can be traced back to the early 1700s when Captain James Cook's voyage brought them to the islands. They wrote about Hula as rather sexually liberating and promiscuous despite it not being so to the islanders. With Tiki mugs, there is othering of Hawaiian gods and people as well as the Chinese such as with the Fu Manchu mug. For some reason, we do not expect workers in Tiki bars to know what words and symbols mean; by contrast, Sam pointed out that we would expect a worker in a Spanish restaurant to understand the menu and be able to explain it.

Tiki is built on the back of Polynesian imagery, but the food and drink is from elsewhere. The food is a bastardization of American Chinese food, and the drink is rather Caribbean. In fact, Polynesia does not have a drinking culture, so creating a bar based on that would be a significant misrepresentation. For flavors, there is some overlap with coconut and banana, but those two elements are throughout the area. Furthermore, Tiki was created in a time when this behavior was accepted, but now we should ask if we can do better. Some bars do it well like Lost Lake that approach it as tropical instead of Tiki. They do not use mugs with exaggerated features, and there is no word or symbol appropriation. Sam continued that Tiki is more than escapism as it is build on false representation of real cultures. It can indeed be done without the cultural aspects; otherwise, Tiki comes across as a lazy means to a quick buck. Finally, creativity and design factors can lead to escapism without treading on others' cultures.

Friday, May 10, 2019

saint pierre

1 oz Pig's Nose Blended Scotch
1 oz Dos Maderas 5+5 Rum
3/4 oz Punt e Mes
1/4 oz Lustau Pedro Ximenez Sherry
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1 dash Angostura Orange Bitters

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

Two Friday nights ago was the opening evening of Thirst Boston. After I departed the Diageo event at Wink & Nod, I made a quick stop to visit Sahil Mehta at Estagon for food and a quick cocktail before continuing on to the Don Papa Rum event at Shore Leave. In looking through Sahil's drink notebook, I spotted a curious split-base recipe that reminded me of the Plymouth Street Harvest with the overlap of Punt e Mes and Pedro Ximenez sherry elements. With Scotch and rum as the base spirits, I mentioned to Sahil that his unnamed drink reminded me of an offshore Prohibition-era warehouse inventory; this led to dubbing it the Saint Pierre after the island in Newfoundland that Bill McCoy and other rumrunners used as their northern base.
The Saint Pierre began with an orange and smoky malt nose. Next, caramel and grape on the sip gave way to rum, raisin, and bitter herbal flavors on the swallow with a smoke and raisin finish.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

mexican tricycle

1 oz Mezcal (Fidencio)
1 oz Cynar

Build in a 10 oz Highball glass, fill with ice, top with Bantam Wunderkind Cider (3 1/2 oz Harpoon Craft Cider), garnish with a lime wheel (omit).

While grocery shopping at Trader Joe's, I spotted a bottle of hard cider in the singles rack, and I recalled that there was a cider recipe with mezcal and Cynar recipe that I wanted to make. When I got home, I was unable to find the tab with the recipe on my browser, so I searched the web and discovered the Punch Drinks article for the Mexican Tricycle. I could not remember the other ingredients, but I figured that this one was probably it (and there were no other ingredients either). The drink was created by Andrew Volk at the Hunt and Alpine Club in Portland, Maine, as a riff on Jeffrey Morgenthaler's Broken Bike (Cynar, dry white wine, soda water) which in turn was a riff on the classic Bicicletta (Campari, dry white wine, soda water). Apple and Cynar have been a great duo  in cocktails like the Michigander and the Detroiter, so I could see why I had mentally flagged this recipe.
The Mexican Tricycle opened up with a smoke, caramel, and apple bouquet. Next, the caramel and apple continued into the sip, and the swallow offered smoky agave and funky herbal flavors with an apple finish.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

legionnaire's club

2 oz Flor de Caña 7 Year Rum
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Housemade Coffee Cordial
1/4 oz Cinnamon Syrup
6-8 leaf Mint

Shake with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with a mint leaf.
Two Wednesdays ago, I ventured out to Kenmore Square to visit the Hawthorne. There, I found a seat in front of bartender Altamash Gaziyani, and I requested the Legionnaire's Club from the menu. The drink was Rob Ficks' take on the Café Mazagran, an Algerian coffee lemonade, as its "rum-drenched cousin." The recipe seemed like a cross of a pineapple-less Mr. Bali Hai with a Rum Southside (or sodaless Mojito), so I was intrigued. Once prepared, the Legionnaire's Club greeted the nose with mint and coffee roast aromas. Next, lemon and roast notes on the sip transitioned into rum and coffee melding into mint on the swallow along with a cinnamon finish.

[police and thieves]

1 1/4 oz Clement Select Aged Rhum Agricole
1 oz Lustau Amontillado Sherry
1/2 oz Amaro Braulio
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
2 dash Peppermint Tea Tincture (* see below or perhaps sub 1 bsp Crème de Menthe in a pinch)

Shake with ice, strain into a Collins glass, fill with fresh ice, and garnish with a mint sprig.
(*) Steep 1 peppermint tea bag in 2 oz Beefeater Gin for 24 hours. Remove tea bag.
For my next drink at Brick & Mortar, bartender Max Bulger mentioned that he had a rhum agricole, sherry, and Braulio recipe that he had been working on, and I was certainly lured in by those ingredients. In the glass, the drink offered mint, grassy, and menthol aromas to the nose. Next, a lime, grape, and caramel sip led into grassy, nutty sherry, and minty herbal flavors on the swallow. Max did not have a name for this, so I took inspiration from the bar's menu of music references to dub this one the Police and Thieves after the Clash song.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

naked lunch

3/4 oz Sombra Mezcal
3/4 oz Yellow Chartreuse
3/4 oz Lillet Blanc
3/4 oz Grapefruit Juice
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
2 dash Bittermens Tiki Bitters

Whip shake, pour into a Collins glass, fill with crushed ice, and garnish with a grapefruit twist.

Two Tuesdays ago, I stopped into Brick & Mortar and found a seat in front of bartender Max Bulger. For a first drink, I asked for the Naked Lunch that Max described as Juan Mederos' cross between a Naked & Famous and a Corpse Reviver #2. When I explained that I was a big William S. Burroughs fan, Max said that it was not named after the novel or the movie but the band since the menu was mostly music references. I have to assume that the group in question was the more recent Austrian alternative rock band and not the late 70s British synth pop one, although both have played out within the last few years.
The Naked Lunch spoke to me like a transformed typewriter with grapefruit and smoke aromas. Next, grapefruit, lemon, and a light fruity honey note on the sip cut up into a smoky agave and herbal swallow.

Monday, May 6, 2019

london calling

1 1/2 oz London Dry Gin (Beefeater)
1/2 oz Fino Sherry (Lustau)
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
2 dash Orange Bitters (Regan's)

Shake with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with a grapefruit twist.
After posting the Saint Paul's Cocktail on Instagram, bartender Zac Luther commented that it appeared like a riff on the London Calling by Chris Jepson at London's Milk & Honey circa 2002. Given his strong recommendation record that includes the Remember the Alimony, I hunted out the recipe. After finding a few that varied slightly in metric volumes, I opted for the one on the Ford's Gin page which split the difference. In the glass, the London Calling clashed with the nose with grapefruit and savory notes from the sherry. Next, lemon and white wine on the sip slid into juniper, citrus, and briny-savory flavors on the swallow.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

saint paul's cocktail

50 mL Cabana Cachaça (1 1/2 oz Cuca Fresca)
25 mL Tio Pepe Fino Sherry (1 oz Lustau)
10 mL Lime Juice (1/2 oz)
10 mL Agave Syrup (1/2 oz 1:1)
2 dash Fee's Orange Bitters (Regan's)

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

Two Sundays ago, I picked Tom Sandham's World's Best Cocktails off the bookshelf for some drink inspiration. In the cachaça section was a curious sherry drink called Saint Paul's Cocktail that I had previously skipped over since I only recently acquired a bottle of Fino. The author wrote how this was one of his favorites from a large cocktail competition, and he believed that it was the handiwork of Alex Kratena of the Artesian Bar in London's Langham's Hotel. When I posted the photo and recipe on Instagram, bartender Zac Luther commented that it was very reminiscent of the gin and lemon London Calling created by Chris Jepson at London's Milk & Honey bar circa 2002; therefore, I added that suggestion to my list to make.
The Saint Paul's Cocktail proffered lime, grassy, and briny aromas to the nose. Next, lime and white grape on the sip converted into grassy funk, crisp, and briny flavors on the swallow. Overall, the feel reminded me a bit of the Snake in the Grass with a similar build structure despite different ingredients.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

that's that

1 1/2 oz Gin (Tanqueray)
1 oz Bianco Vermouth (Dolin Blanc)
1/2 oz Fino Sherry (Lustau)
1 dash Orange Bitters (Regan's)

Stir with ice, strain into a Nick & Nora (cocktail coupe) glass, and garnish with an orange twist.

Two Saturdays ago, I was in a Martini mood and remembered that I had bookmarked a riff from Imbibe Magazine. That cocktail was the That's That crafted by Paul McGee at the Cherry Circle Room in Chicago. Paul was inspired by a 1930s bottle of dry vermouth that he acquired for the Milk Room's vintage spirits collection, and he was able to replicate the flavors with blanc vermouth countered by fino sherry. The final recipe reminded me of a nameless 50:50 Martini riff that I used to make for a regular that was 2 parts Plymouth Gin, 1 part L.N. Mattei Blanc Quinquina, 1 part Fino sherry, 2 dash orange bitters, and either an orange or lemon twist.
The That's That welcomed the senses with an orange, floral, and juniper bouquet. Next, a semi-sweet white grape sip gave way to juniper, orange, and hint of nutty flavors on the crisp swallow.

Friday, May 3, 2019


1 1/2 oz Light Puerto Rican Rum (Don Q Añejo)
1 dash Grenadine (1/4 oz)
1/2 slice Pineapple (3/4 oz Pineapple Juice)
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1 dash Rock Candy Syrup (1/4 oz Simple)

Blend with 12 oz ice and strain into a 10 oz coupe (shake with ice and strain into a 5 oz coupe).

Two Fridays ago, I selected Trader Vic's 1974 Rum Cookery & Drinkery book since I was in the mood for something tropical. There I spotted a Trader Vic original called the Honolulu that reminded me of many "Hawaii(an)" named cocktails that included pineapple juice, citrus, and sweetener such as the Royal Hawaiian. However, most of those are gin drinks, and this one is a rum one with grenadine and rock candy syrup as the sweeteners. It sort of reminded me of a Mary Pickford with lemon and no Maraschino or a mint-less Santiago Julep that Trader Vic published in 1947.
The Honolulu danced its way to the nose with lemon and pineapple aromas. Next, waves of creamy lemon, pineapple, and hints of berry crashed on to the sip, and the swallow erupted with rum displaying vanilla and caramel notes. Indeed, with the lemon instead of lime, the aged aspect of the rum sang out (see the citrus talk earlier in the week).

Thursday, May 2, 2019


2/3 St. Croix Rum (1 3/4 oz Plantation Original Dark)
2 dash Sherry (1/2 oz Lustau East India Solera)
2 dash French Vermouth (1/2 oz Noilly Prat Dry)
1 dash Picon Bitters (1/4 oz Torani Amer)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass; I added an orange twist.
Two Thursdays ago, I reached for Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 to find a glossed over gem. The one that I landed upon was the Maine which intrigued me as a rum drink with its call for sherry and Picon. Once in the glass, the Maine's garnish donated an orange oil aroma over aged rum notes. Next, caramel and grape on the sip slid into rum on the swallow along with nutty grape melding into caramel-orange flavors.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019


1 1/2 oz Cognac (Camus VS)
3/4 oz Scotch (Cutty Sark Prohibition)
1 1/8 oz Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Earl Grey Tea
3/4 oz Honey (not syrup)
1 pinch Salt

Stir the honey until dissolved, add rest of the ingredients, shake with ice, strain into a cup or rocks glass with ice, and garnish with a lemon wheel.
Two Wednesdays ago, I turned to Maggie Hoffman's Batch Cocktails for another recipe that could be adapted to single size. The one that spoke out to me was Anna Moss' Greyscale that she crafted at La Moule in Portland, Oregon. Once built, this punch donated a lemon, black tea, and floral aroma to the nose. Next, lemon and honey swirled on the tongue, and the swallow tossed in Cognac, peat smoke, and black tea flavors with bergamot coming through on the finish.