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.

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