Monday, September 30, 2019

havana smash

1/2 Lemon, in wedges or pieces (*)
6-8 leaf Mint
1 1/2 oz Gin (Beefeater)
1/2 oz Swedish Punsch (Kronan)
1/2 oz Apricot Liqueur (Combier)

Muddle lemon wedges, add mint, and lightly muddle again. Add the rest of the ingredients, shake with ice, and double strain into a double old fashioned glass. Fill with crushed ice and garnish with mint sprigs.
(*) A medium lemon that will generate around 3/4 oz juice when muddled.

Two Mondays ago, I returned home late and was in the mood for a final drink. Instead of looking up a novel recipe, I became inspired about the apricot-Swedish punsch combination in the Havana Cocktail via thinking about the Transatlantic Orbit's apricot-cinnamon duo a few nights before. I decided to take the Havana Cocktail in the direction of Eastern Standard's Smash with muddled citrus wedges and mint (opposed to the classic Smash which is a Mint Julep on a smaller scale).
The Havana Smash met the nose with a mint and lemon bouquet. Next, lemon and orchard fruit notes on the sip set up for gin's botanicals and Swedish punsch's funky rum flavors on the swallow with mint, tea, and fruity notes on the finish.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

mary garden (merry widow)

1 1/2 oz Dubonnet or Byrrh Quinquina (Dubonnet Rouge)
1 1/2 oz Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth
1/4 oz Luxardo Maraschino or Grand Marnier (Luxardo Maraschino)
1 dash Regan's Orange Bitters

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

Two Sundays ago, I ventured into Frank Caiafa's The Waldorf Astoria Bar Book where I spotted a doubly named aperitif. The recipe was both the Mary Garden after a turn of the century opera singer and the Merry Widow after a 19th century operetta. Caiafa pointed out that Hugo Ensslin had a Merry Widow that was a fifty-fifty Dry Martini with New Orleans-style accents of Benedictine, absinthe, and Peychaud's Bitters that was quite delightful, and this is why I posted this recipe as the Mary Garden to help differentiate it (although Caiafa listed it as the Merry Widow).
The Mary Garden when made with Dubonnet and Maraschino curtsied to the nose with a grape and cherry and almost licorice aroma. Next, red grape and cherry on the sip bowed into darker cherry flavor on the swallow with a nutty finish.

Saturday, September 28, 2019


1/4 wineglass Bacardi (1 1/2 oz Uruapan Charanda Blanco)
Juice 1 Lime (3/4 oz)
2 dash Curaçao (1/4 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry)
2 dash Grenadine (1/4 oz)
1 dash Picon (1/4 oz Torani Amer)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
Two Saturdays ago, I selected Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 from my bookshelf after returning home from my bar shift. There, I spotted the Tango; I had previously skipped over this recipe for it shares the name with a pair of more famous ones in the Savoy Cocktail Book called the apple brandy-based Tango #1 and the rum-based Tango #2 (Wayne Curtis' Cynar variation is a great modern riff of the latter). This Tango was an Daiquiri variation with a trio of sweeteners: curaçao, grenadine, and Amer Picon. Once prepared, this Tango danced to the nose with lime, orange, grapefruit, and grassy rum aromas. Next, a lime and berry sip led into a funky rum, bitter orange, and berry flavors on the swallow.

Friday, September 27, 2019

transatlantic orbit

1 oz Batavia Arrack (Van Oosten)
1 oz Navy Strength Gin (Hayman's)
3/4 oz Apricot Liqueur (Combier)
3/4 oz Cinnamon Syrup
1 oz Lime Juice
1 oz Grapefruit Juice
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1 dash Tropical Bitters (BitterCube Jamaican #2)

Whip shake, pour into a Tiki mug, fill with crushed ice, and garnish with a flaming lime shell (El Dorado 151) and a mint sprig.

Two Fridays ago, I was feeling a tropical mood, so I delved back into the Minimalist Tiki book and selected the Transatlantic Orbit by Seattle bartender Justin Wojslaw. Given the name and the structure, it reminded me a lot of a Jet Pilot with different spirits as well as apricot liqueur instead of falernum. Since apricot and cinnamon have proven to be a delightful pairing such as in the Southern Belle and Torino Zombie, I was excited to give this one a try. Here, the spirits were Batavia Arrack and gin, and I had previously had the former in a Jet Pilot riff called the Smoking Jet Pilot.
The Transatlantic Orbit launched to the senses with a mint and cinnamon bouquet. Next, the lime and grapefruit rotated around in the sip, and the swallow crossed over with gin's botanicals, Batavia Arrack's funk, and apricot and cinnamon flavors.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

two words

1 1/2 oz Laird's Bonded Apple Brandy
1 1/2 oz Zucca Rabarbaro (Sfumato)

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

Two Thursdays ago, I was in the mood for a nightcap, so I turned to Maggie Hoffman's Batch Cocktails for a recipe that I could adapt to a single serving. There, I was lured in by the Two Words by Adam James Sarkis of Milwaukee's Phoenix Cocktail Club. This two part drink featured apple brandy in a Black Manhattan of sorts with Zucca (although I utilized a similar rabarbaro: Sfumato), and this reminded me of other equal parters with Zucca such as the 11 + 2 / 12 + 1 with Green Chartreuse, Monopatin with Fino sherry, and The Dissenter with sweet vermouth (and a barspoon of cassis). Therefore, I set out to make this Black Marconi Wireless.
The Two Words spoke to the nose with lemon, apple, and earthy aromas. Next, roast notes with a hint of fruitiness on the sip finished with an apple, minty, orange, earthy, and bitter swallow.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

belle of broadway

1/2 Rye Whiskey (1 1/2 oz Sazerac)
1/4 Crème Yvette (1/2 oz)
1/4 French Vermouth (1 oz Noilly Prat)

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

After returning home from my whirlwind trip to Mexico late two Wednesdays ago, I was in the mood for a nightcap. Therefore, I selected the Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 as guidance. The recipe that opened my eyes was the Belle of Broadway which was most likely named after the 1926 American silent romantic drama film that perfectly fits into the book's time frame. I had previously made the sweet vermouth version called the Caboose and the Scotch (and orange bitters) version called the Lucifer, and it reminded me of the Lord Sheffield that I crafted in 2013 and named after the Sheffield Company of Connecticut who originally produced Crème Yvette.

The Belle of Broadway flirted with the nose with orange, dark berry, and violet aromas. Next, a currant-like note on the sip pranced into rye, blackberry, violet, and vanilla flavors on the swallow. Overall, surprising quite pleasant especially with my alteration of the liqueur and dry vermouth levels.

Monday, September 23, 2019

:: a big fish in a small pond ::

First published on the USBG National blog in February 2017 and adapted slightly here. The photos were taken at the Boston Bartender Collaborative's Speed Competition on July 10, 2011 at the second bar at Trina's Starlite Lounge that later became Parlor Sports.

Recently [in early 2017] on Reddit, an user expressed concern that he was losing motivation and needed inspiration. He felt that he had reached the pinnacle of bartending in his town, and he wanted to excel to the level of those he looked up to in the big city. Most of us have had that feeling that we could do better or become better. Sometimes it comes from being in a more isolated drink community but other times it can just stem from being in a small bar program with no one around to mentor you. I came up with a list of a few pointers on how to improve the situation on Reddit, and I expounded on those points here.

1. Start teaching and expand the knowledge.

One of the best feelings is to bring up the people around you and under you by sharing your knowledge and enthusiasm. This can raise your bar community or bar program, and the aphorism “a rising tide lifts all boats” applies. Indeed, it may soon be possible to learn from those that you taught especially if they are motivated to learn on their own or if they ask you questions that make you think and research.

2. Travel. Apply to be a Tales of the Cocktail apprentice or to attend Camp Runamok or the Bar Institute [now Portland Cocktail Week once again]. You will meet and learn from people who know more.

When I first ventured out to Tales of the Cocktail, I certainly was not under the impression that I had hit my peak or had learned all that I could in my city. I was not even a professional bartender yet but a writer and home enthusiast. However, it brought me into contact with writers better than myself and with bartenders who could teach me things that were not as available to me in my city and my position. I have yet to be a Tales of the Cocktail apprentice, but Camp Runamok and Portland Cocktail Week (the predecessor of the Bar Institute) were great experiences in meeting a wide variety of bar professionals with many viewpoints, specialties, and techniques to share. And the learning kept up after those events through the connections I have made at those events.

3. Read. The books are out there to guide you. Shoot for 2 per month if you can.
There is time to read if you look for it. Before you leave for work, during meals, when you get to work early and have time to kill, and on your days off are all times when you can read. I try to mix things up with books on history, spirits, beer, hospitality, recipes, technique, and theory. Sometimes the book titles come recommended by peers and other times it is Amazon suggesting similar titles or it is an article that mentions book titles. And other times, it comes from me web searching for guidance in a specific field. Regardless of where the respective authors are located, their teachings will be close at hand and wherever you go (assuming you remember to put the book in your bag).

4. Write. Take yourself to the next level by becoming a scholar. Research and get your voice and name out there.

Both writing and giving talks have been some of the best ways to push myself into learning more about a topic. In many ways the process also harkens back to the first point of teaching and improving the level of your environment. But if part of the envy of those big name city bartenders is notoriety, then getting your name on a byline or book spine may help.

5. Stage or guest bartend at other places. Change of environment and coworkers even temporarily will teach you. Or have others guest bartend or stage at your bar.

This is something that I wish I let myself follow more. At one point, I considered doing a stage a month, but I never pushed myself to follow through. However, doing guest shifts such as at a Tiki or blender drink night let me learn about how different bars are set up and allowed me to focus on a drink style that was not my normal specialty. The guest shifts and staging also help in learning about other philosophies and techniques. And on a short staffed night at a previous job, my owners allowed me to bring in a guest bartender to help me out for the night. The bartender I selected was a sales rep who left bartending and missed it. While having an extra pair of hands back there was surely an asset, the true value was that he had wisdom from some of the finest spots in town where he had been behind the stick and he was able to problem solve issues I was facing and share his knowledge about the trade. I think about this every shift when I insert a fish tub lid to keep my cubed ice separated from my crushed ice in the well.

6. Move. I put this last after you've exhausted the others.

I do not have the luxury to just get up and move to a new state as freely as a young, single bartender might, but the option is there if need be. Move can be as simple as changing the bar or restaurant you work in or changing the city or state as well. There are so many ways of improving yourself within your position and location, but the world is a big one and so full of opportunities. And many of those opportunities will expose you to new challenges that can lead to self-improvement and learning. It may also lead you to understand that bartending is a combination of technique and hospitality, and some of the best recipe- and technique-driven establishments that get the press do it at the expense of some aspect of hospitality. Sometimes life is better when the simple things make your guests happy, and often there is a happy medium between the two.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

rackateer julep

1 sprig Mint
2 oz Bols Genever
1/2 oz Smith & Cross Rum
1 tsp Vanilla Syrup
1 tsp Demerara Syrup

Rub the mint inside of a Julep cup and discard. Add the rest of the ingredients plus crushed ice, and stir to mix and chill. Top with crushed ice, and garnish with a dash of Bitter Truth Aromatic Bitters (Jerry Thomas Decanter) and a mint bouquet.

Two Sundays ago, I selected the Death & Co. Cocktail Book for the evening's refreshment after having neglected that well picked over tome since late 2018. One of the recipes that I had not made yet was Jessica Gonzalez's 2009 Rackateer Julep that featured Genever as the base that was accented by funky Jamaican rum and vanilla syrup. I had previously made the Gin Julep from Jerry Thomas' 1862 with Genever since gin generally meant Holland or Dutch "gin" back then, and I had been served a Genever with Wray & Nephew number, the Electrical Storm Julep, at No. 9 Park several years ago that took things in a different direction.
Here, the Rackateer Julep met the nose with a mint, cinnamon, and clove bouquet. Next, a malty sip gave way to Genever's malt wine and botanicals leading into Smith & Cross' funky rum flavors with a vanilla and mint finish.

Saturday, September 21, 2019


2 oz Johnnie Walker Red Scotch (Cutty Sark Prohibition)
1/2 oz Benedictine
2 dash Angostura Bitters

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

Two Saturdays ago, I returned home late after a long shift at work. I was in the mood for something strong yet easy and quick to make, and I recalled seeing the Highlander mentioned in Clair McLafferty's The Classic & Craft Cocktail Recipe Book when I made the Indian Summer. Clair pointed me in the direction of Paul Harrington's 1998 Cocktail: The Drinks Bible for the 21st Century, and that book indicated that it was one of Paul's original recipes. Paul explained, "My father's drink was the Rusty Nail which was too sweet for me, and I was intrigued by French liqueurs after my experience with Chartreuse. I was looking for some more applications for the Benedictine that sat on our top shelf." I was attracted for it reminded me of the rye-based Frisco that I tinkered with in the Call of the Wild.
The Highlander marched to the nose with lemon oil over peat smoke aromas. Next, a rich and malt sip climbed towards a smoky Scotch, chocolate-herbal, allspice, and clove swallow.

Friday, September 20, 2019

escape hatch

1 1/2 oz Moderately Aged Rum (Don Q Añejo)
3/4 oz Jagermeister
1/2 oz Falernum Syrup (1/2 oz Velvet Falernum + 1/4 oz Simple Syrup)
3/4 oz Lemon Juice

Whip shake, pour into a coconut shell or mug, fill with crushed ice, and top with 3 oz coconut water. Garnish with freshly grated cinnamon and an orchid (pea blossoms). The addition of simple syrup was recommended in the instructions to adjust for change in viscosity.
Two Fridays ago, I was feeling a tropical vibe, so I reached for Matt Pietrek and Carrie Smith's Minimalist Tiki book. The recipe that drew me in that night was the Escape Hatch by Seattle's Navy Strength bar, for I was curious to see if Jagermeister would play out as well in this Tiki drink as it had in the Rough Seas, Pukel Punch, Muerto Vivo, and the Lost U-Boat. Once prepared, the Escape Hatch opened up with aromas of cinnamon from the garnish and coconut water from the float. Next, lemon and the Jagermeister's caramel swirled on the sip, and the rum, clove, ginger, and cinnamon flavors rounded out the swallow. As the coconut water float met the straw, things gained a clean salinity that lightened the body.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

cuzco fizz

2 oz Pisco (Macchu Pisco)
1 oz St. Germain (St. Elder)
3/4 oz Lime Juice
5 Green Grapes

Muddle grapes, add the rest of the ingredients, shake with ice, and double strain into a double old fashioned (Highball) glass with 1/2 oz soda water (1 oz).
Another of the grape recipes that I had noted down was the Cuzco Fizz from Beachbum Berry's Remixed. The drink was crafted by Lynette Marrero in 2007 while at Freeman's Restaurant in Manhattan; Lynette named her Fizz after Cuzco, the ancient Incan capital located in Peru. Once prepared, I was greeted by a floral aroma from the liqueur that led into a carbonated lime and white grape sip. Next, the pisco elegantly blended together with the floral flavors on the swallow which finished with white grape notes.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

enchanted catnip

1 1/2 oz White Puerto Rican Rum (Privateer Silver)
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Tamarind Syrup (2 parts Simple Syrup + 1 part Tamarind Concentrate)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe. Prepare a thin strip (1/4+ inch wide) of orange peel, wrap it around the equator of a grape, and fix with a pick; dip in 151 proof Puerto Rican Rum (Don Q), ignite, and drop into the drink.

Two Wednesdays ago, I went out grocery shopping and bought both red and green grapes to make a few drinks that I had marked off. The one that I was most excited about making was the Enchanted Catnip from Beachbum Berry's Potions of the Caribbean book. The recipe was created by the Joe Scialom who is best know for creating the Suffering Bastard and Dead Bastard and I most recently made his Cou-Cou-Comber this past summer. The Enchanted Catnip was crafted in 1958 after his work adventures in the Middle East and Caribbean when he settled down in New York City, and it featured a tamarind syrup similar to what I used in the Final Countdown, the Eye of the Tiger, and other drinks at Loyal Nine.
The Enchanted Catnip began with a exciting pyrotechnic garnish and a rum and lime aroma from the drink itself. Next, lime and a dark tart fruit note from the tamarind filled the sip, and the swallow was the pleasing duo of rum and tamarind flavors.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

swedish paralysis

1 1/2 oz Malört (Jeppson's Malort)
1 1/2 oz Orange Juice
1 1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Orgeat
1/2 oz Cinnamon Syrup

Whip shake, pour into a Tiki mug, fill with crushed ice, and garnish with an edible flower.

After returning home from work two Tuesdays ago, I decided to riff on a drink instead of finding a new recipe at that hour. Actually, I first had opened up the Smuggler's Cove book in hopes of quickly finding a novel recpe and had spotted their Norwegian Paralysis that I had made prior. Their riff was an aquavit variation on the okelehao-based Polynesian Paralysis, and I had recently tinkered with an Italian amari direction in the Dolce Far Niente. To change things up, I opted for malört as the spirit and switched the demerara syrup to cinnamon to better complement the herbal liqueur, and I dubbed this one the Swedish Paralysis.
The Swedish Paralysis tingled the nose with pineapple, nutty, and cinnamon aromas underneath the floral notes. Next, a creamy orange and lemon sip led into the malört's wormwood-driven botanicals, the orgeat's nutty, and the syrup's cinnamon flavors with a pineapple and cinnamon finish.

Monday, September 16, 2019

cave creek

1 1/4 oz Rock & Rye (Hochstadter's Slow & Low)
1 oz Blended Scotch (Cutty Sark Prohibition)
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Grenadine
1/4 oz Campari

Shake with ice, strain into a Collins glass with ice, top with soda water (2 oz), and garnish with a lemon twist.
For the cocktail hour two Mondays ago, I perused Carey Jones' Brooklyn Bartender until I came across the Cave Creek. That drink was a Whiskey Collins of sorts crafted by Nate Dumas at The Shanty, and it seemed like a good use for my bottle of Rock & Rye that had been untouched for a bit. Besides the sweetness in that whiskey cordial, the lemon juice was balanced by the Trader Vic-favored duo of Campari and grenadine. Once built, the Cave Creek met the senses with a bright lemon oil aroma over the whiskey notes. Next, a carbonated lemon and berry sip trickled into whiskey with a hint of peat smoke, orange, and berry flavors on the swallow.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

port of innsmouth

2 oz Moderately Aged Rum (Plantation Original Dark)
1 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Dry Curaçao (Pierre Ferrand)
1/2 oz Cinnamon Syrup
1/2 oz Don's Spices #2 (1/4 oz Vanilla Syrup + 1/4 oz Hamilton's Allspice Dram)
2 dash Aromatic Bitters (Angostura)

Whip shake, pour into a large snifter glass (Tiki mug), fill with crushed ice, and garnish with mint sprigs.

Two Sundays ago, I turned to the Minimalist Tiki book by Matt Pietrek and Carrie Smith and spotted the Port of Innsmouth by Jason Alexander. As I mentioned in the Innsmouth Fog Cutter #2, Innsmouth is a fictional town in Massachusetts that was invented by horror writer H.P. Lovecraft for a 1936 story. Here, instead of a Fog Cutter, the drink that the Port of Innsmouth reminded me of was the Nui Nui. Jason utilized the curaçao for orange juice swap as I had done in my aperitif riff, the Maui Nui. Once prepared, the Port of Innsmouth donated a dark rum and cinnamon bouquet to the nose. Next, caramel, lime, and orange notes on the sip flowed into rum, cinnamon, allspice, and vanilla flavors on the swallow.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

banana daiquri

1 1/2 oz Gold Puerto Rican Rum (Tommy Bahama Gold)
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
1/2 Ripe Banana cut into slices
4 oz Crushed Ice

Blend until smooth (blend without ice to break up the banana and blend again with ice) and pour into a cocktail glass. Here, I made 1 1/2 times the recipe and split into two cocktail coupes.
Even before Giffard came out with Banane du Bresil, people made Banana Daiquiris but they used the fruit itself (although crème de banana was around as early as the 1930s as demonstrated in the 1937 Café Royal Cocktail Book with drinks like the Metropine, so who knows?). For a post-work drink two Saturdays ago, I decided to make Mariano Licudine's blender version that he crafted at the Mai-Kai in Fort Lauderdale circa 1971. Since I lacked a cocktail glass that would hold 8-9 ounces of liquid, I decided to make a batch and a half of the recipe from Jeff Berry's Remixed and split it into two coupes. Once prepared, the Banana Daiquiri smiled with a bouquet of banana and a hint of lime. Next, a creamy melonish sip led into rum and banana flavors on the swallow with a lime finish.

Friday, September 13, 2019


1 1/2 oz Rhum Agricole Blanc (Clement)
1 oz Dry Vermouth (Noilly Prat)
1/4 oz Benedictine
1/4 oz Amer Picon (Torani Amer)

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

Two Fridays ago after returning home from work, I was in the mood for rhum agricole but was too tired to search for a new recipe. Therefore, I became inspired by the flavors of the Creole Cocktail especially after tinkering with it to make it into a Floridita Daiquiri riff, the Creolita, a few weeks back. Here, I took things in a dry vermouth direction akin to the Georgetown Club that Charles H. Baker Jr. wrote about but with different rum and with the Benedictine-Picon duo instead of falernum. For a name, I dubbed this Creole meets a Martinique Martini the Patois which is "Antillean Creole spoken in Martinique with elements of Carib, English, and African languages."
The Patois awoke the senses with orange oil over grassy funk on the nose. Next, a crisp sip with hints of orange wandered into grassy funk and herbal orange on the swallow. The agricole, Benedictine, and orange liqueur combination did remind me a little of the 'Ti Punch riff, the Homere Punch. I later retried this drink with blanc vermouth, but the extra sweetness seemed to obscure the wonderful flavors of the rhum and other ingredients; perhaps splitting the vermouth might provide a more rounded drink, but I quite enjoyed it as it was the first time.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

kingston soundsystem

1 1/2 oz Overproof Jamaican Rum (Rumfire)
1/2 oz Suze Gentian Liqueur
3/4 oz Soursop Juice
3/4 oz Lime Juice

Shake with ice, strain into a rocks glass with ice (pour into a rocks glass), and garnish with a dehydrated lime (lemon) wheel and a pineapple leaf (mint sprigs).

After work two Thursdays ago, I turned to my compiled list of drinks to make with the tropical juices that I had just bought, and I decided upon the Kingston Soundsystem calling for soursop. The recipe was crafted by Shannon Mustipher and published in her Tiki: Modern Tropical Drinks book, and it was inspired by the Jungle Bird but taken in an opposite direction. Here, an unaged rum was used instead of a dark one, an herbal gentian liqueur instead of bitter Campari, and softer soursop juice instead of pineapple.
This reggae-inspired number greeted the nose with melon blending into rum funk. Next, a melon and lime sip transitioned into funky rum and earthy herbal flavors on the swallow with a pineapple-like finish.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

dubonnet frappe

1 1/2 oz Dubonnet Rouge
3/4 oz Jamaican Overproof White Rum (Wray & Nephew)
1/2 oz Grenadine
1/4 oz Banana Liqueur (Giffard)
1 tsp Sugar
1 1/2 cup Crushed Ice (12 oz) (*)

Blend until smooth, pour into a coupe glass (16 oz glass), and garnish with freshly grated orange peel.
(*) Not sure how a 16 oz build fits in a coupe (my largest coupe is around 7 oz). A 1/2 cup ice would fit in there but it would not be smooth, and splitting the whole build into two glasses would just be too little alcohol for a bar to serve.

Two Wednesdays ago, I was in the mood for a blender drink, and I remembered one in the PunchDrinks' Dubonnet-sponsored article. That libation was the Dubonnet Frappé crafted by Julia McKinley of Lost Lake in Chicago. Lost Lake has been publishing a variety of frappé recipes including Daiquiri and Harvey Wallbanger ones, and a frappé itself is a drink that is either blended in the Cuban tradition, poured over shaved ice which Trader Vic was fond of, or shaken and served with crushed ice. The Dubonnet Frappé here was McKinley's riff on the Ron Habañero Dubonnet Helado from the Cafe Plaza in Maracaibo, Venezuela, that Charles H. Baker Jr. published in his 1951 The South American Gentleman's Companion. For her riff, she subbed Jamaican rum and banana liqueur for the original's Cuban rum and Maraschino.
The Dubonnet Frappé pleased the nose with orange and fruity aromas. Next, lime and cherry from the Dubonnet and perhaps the grenadine played in the frosty sip, and the swallow gave forth funky rum and banana flavors.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

midnight stroll

1 1/2 oz Rye Whiskey (Rittenhouse)
3/4 oz Campari
1/2 oz Amaro Ramazzotti
1/4 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao
1 dash Peychaud's Bitters

Build in a rocks glass, add ice, stir to mix and chill, and garnish with an orange twist.
Two Tuesdays ago, I was in the mood for a digestif and remembered a drink that I had noted in SeriousEats called the Midnight Stroll. The recipe was a Boulevardier riff invented by Brandon Lockman of Red Star Tavern in Portland, Oregon. The Midnight Stroll took its first step with a bright orange oil aroma over rye and dark orange notes. Next, a caramel orange sip turned the corner into a rye, root beer, and bitter orange swallow. After enjoying this drink, I rediscovered a sparkling wine-lightened recipe that was pretty similar -- Joaquin Simo's Day Bell that he served to me at Tales of the Cocktail in 2010.

Monday, September 9, 2019


2 oz Appleton White Rum (Uruapan Charanda Blanco)
1 oz Pineapple Juice
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Honey Syrup

Whip shake, pour into a Tiki mug or double Old Fashioned glass (Tiki mug), and fill with crushed ice. Garnish with a pineapple wedge (chocolate mint sprigs).
Two Mondays ago, my copy of Justin Cristaldi's Tiki Triangle arrived; I learned about the book when Justin asked permission a few months ago to put my Nuclear Daiquiri gets the Mai Tai treatment, the Bikini Atoll, in its pages. The recipe that caught my eye as a starting place was the Atherton created by Tim Mayer of the exotica group Waitiki 7 after they played a gig at the Atherton Pavilion in Honolulu in 2008. Once crafted, the Atherton proffered an earthy rum funk and mint bouquet to the nose. Next, lime and honey on the sip played into earthy rum and pineapple on the swallow with a honey-tinged finish.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

royal peacock

1 1/2 oz Rhum Agricole Blanc (Clement)
1/2 oz Mezcal Espadin (Fidencio)
1/2 oz Passion Fruit Liqueur (Ezekiel)
1/4 oz Simple Syrup
3/4 oz Mango Juice
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1 dash Bittermens Hellfire Habanero Shrub (Housemade Hellfire Bitters)

Shake with ice, strain into a Collins glass rimmed with chile salt (cayenne powder + salt), and fill with ice. Garnish with 3 pineapple leaves (3 mint sprigs).

Another tropical juice that I purchased was mango to make a few drinks. The one that I began with was from Shannon Mustipher's Tiki: Modern Tropical Cocktails book called the Royal Peacock. The recipe was created by Dani DeLuna who started the Tiki the Snow Away event each January on Instagram back in 2015, and she based it on the Planteur -- a Martician punch with rhum agricole and guava.
The Royal Peacock greeted the senses with a cayenne pepper aroma from the rim along with mint and tropical fruit notes. Next, lime and papaya strutted on the sip, and the swallow displayed grassy, smoke, passion fruit, and pepper heat flavors.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

soursop sour

1 1/2 oz Gin (Beefeater)
3 oz Soursop Nectar
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1 oz Simple Syrup (3/4 oz)
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a double old fashioned glass (Tiki mug with crushed ice). Garnish with an orchid (nasturtiums and a mint sprig).

One of the other tropical juices that I purchased was soursop nectar to make a few recipes. Soursop grows in the Caribbean, and its fruit despite looking like Durian has a pleasant pineapple aroma, strawberry, apple, and citrus flavors, and a creamy texture. The drink that I started with was a 2004 creation by Audrey Saunders at Bemelmans Bar in Manhattan a year before she opened up the Pegu Club. Overall, the Soursop Sour reminded me of a juice-forward Pegu Club given the gin, citrus, and bitters combination, but in the end, it was much more subtle.
The Soursop Sour began with gin's pine coming through underneath the mint and peppery floral garnish aroma. Next, lemon and a creamy melon sip gave way to gin, pineapple, clove, and allspice flavors on the swallow.

Friday, September 6, 2019


2 oz Aged Jamaican Rum (1 1/2 oz Appleton Signature + 1/2 oz Smith & Cross)
1/2 oz Crème de Banane (Giffard)
1/4 oz Allspice Dram (Hamilton's)
3 oz Tamarind Nectar
1/2 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice, pour into a Highball glass, and garnish with a lemon wheel.
Two Fridays ago, I procured tamarind nectar to make a Jeff Beachbum Berry recipe that I had spotted in the 2010 edition of the Food & Wine: Cocktails book series. I was curious as to why a drink named perhaps after the Venezuelan city of Maracaibo would call for Jamaican rum, but I was lured in by the tamarind, banana, and allspice flavor backup. Once prepared, the Maracaibo donated a lemon aroma from the garnish along with caramel and rum funk notes from the drink underneath. Next, lemon and tamarind mingled on the sip, and the swallow proffered funky rum and banana flavors with an allspice and tamarind finish.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

bjorn supremacy

1 1/2 oz Overproof Rye Whiskey (Rittenhouse Bonded)
1/2 oz Baska Snaps Malort (Jeppson's)
1/2 oz Briottet Crème de Peche
2 dash Boker's Bitters (Jerry Thomas Decanter)

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

For a nightcap two Thursdays ago, I delved into Brad Parsons' Amaro book for a recipe. There, I spotted the Bjorn Supremacy by Dennis Gobis of Austin's Roosevelt Room. Dennis described how the name based off of a Robert Ludlum play "seemed fitting for a cocktail accented with a Scandanavian spirit." I was curious to see how malört would play off of peach flavors since it did quite well with apricot ones in the Cutman and Lightning Swords of Death.
The Bjorn Supremacy welcomed the senses with a rye, peach, and clove aroma. Next, malt with a hint of fruit on the sip transitioned to rye, peach, and wormwood-driven herbal flavors on the swallow with a clove, allspice, and celery-like finish.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

dolce far niente

1 oz Fernet Branca
1 oz Campari
1 1/2 oz Orange Juice
1 1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Orgeat
1/4 oz Simple Syrup
1 pinch Salt (or 5 drop 1:4 saline)

Whip shake, pour into a Collins glass, fill with crushed ice, and garnish with a mint bouquet.
After having made the Polynesian Paralysis, I thought about the Norwegian Paralysis with aquavit, and I wondered if I could make an Italian amari one. For the classic's Okolehao, I substituted a Ferrari, the infamous Fernet-Campari duo, as the base spirit, and selected as the name Dolce Far Niente meaning "sweet doing nothing/sweet idleness" which sounded classier than the Italian Paralysis. Moreover, the name reminded me of some of Ryan Lotz-era No. 9 amaro drinks such as the Riviera di Ponente and Amaro di Cocco. Once prepared, the Dolce Far Niente gave forth a mint, orange, caramel, and menthol aroma to the nose. Next, orange and lemon mingled with Fernet's caramel on the sip, and the swallow let go of minty, menthol, herbal, nutty, and pineapple flavors.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

once over #2

1 1/2 oz Aperol
3/4 oz Lime Juice
3/4 oz Orgeat
1/2 oz Tequila (Lunazul)
5 leaf Mint

Blend with 1+ cup crushed ice and pour into a Collins glass. Float 1/4 oz mezcal (Fidencio) and garnish with a bouquet of mint.
Two Tuesdays, I was in the mood for something on the lighter side, so I reached for Drew Lazor's Session Cocktails. There, I was drawn in by the Once Over #2 by Ryan Gannon of The Cure in New Orleans; Ryan named the drink that he crafted for an agave spirit popup event after the song "The Once Over Twice" by the Los Angeles punk band X. Once blended, the Once Over #2 welcomed the nose with a mint and smoke aroma. Next, a creamy lime sip led into orange and mint flavors on the swallow with a tequila finish.

Monday, September 2, 2019

polynesian paralysis

3 oz Okolehao or sub Bourbon/Rye (Old Grand-Dad Bonded Bourbon)
3 oz Orange Juice
3 oz Pineapple Juice
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1 oz Orgeat
1/2 oz Simple Syrup

Blend 10 seconds with 12 oz crushed ice, pour into a Tiki bowl, and garnish with a gardenia (nasturtiums).

Two Mondays ago, I was flipping through Beachbum Berry's Remixed when I came across the Polynesian Paralysis. I had previously skipped over this 1960s recipe for it calls for okolehao; okolehao is Hawaiian moonshine made mostly from the root of the Ti plant and is rather hard to come by this way. Martin Cate must have felt the same way for he crafted the Norwegian Paralysis substituting aquavit as the base. Instead of continuing my wait for a bottle of okolehao from a craft distiller to make its way over, I decided to take Berry's advice and utilize an American whiskey in its place. As I learned from Matt Rowley in his history of okoleao, during the 1960s, instead of going through the effort of digging up these roots and roasting them for the mash, producers flavored whiskey with ti roots or extracts, and this was the era when the Polynesian Paralysis was crafted. True okolehao apparently has molasses, brown sugar, funk, root beer, and earthy flavors, but until I can experience that easily, I decided to give the recipe a go with my house Bourbon.
Berry provided a bit of history of the name via the 1960 book Waikiki Beachnik which described Polynesian Paralysis as, "a screaming desire not to do work, not to do anything that requires any substantial effort either physical or mental." Once prepared, the drink itself donated Bourbon, pineapple, nutty, and orange aromas to the nose. Next, orange and lemon mingled on the sip, and the swallow proffered whiskey, pineapple and nutty flavors that came across with a coconut note from a combination of the orgeat and Bourbon.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

paul mcgee's zombie

1 1/2 oz Flor de Caña Gold Rum (Don Q Añejo)
1 oz Lemon Hart 151 Rum (Plantation OFTD)
1/2 oz Smith & Cross Rum
1/2 oz Appleton Estate 12 Year Rum (Appleton Signature)
1 oz Lime Juice
1 oz Grapefruit Juice
1/2 oz Cinnamon Syrup
1/2 oz Grenadine
1/2 oz Falernum (Velvet)
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1 dash Absinthe (12 drop St. George)

Blend with 1 cup of ice (whip shake), pour into a 22 oz glass (Tiki mug), fill with crushed ice, and garnish with orchids (pea blossoms) and a lime shell with a flaming crouton soaked in absinthe (1/4 oz El Dorado 151).

While researching the 1934 Zombie, I came across a 2013 TastingTable article that provided Paul McGee's riff on the drink that he served at Chicago's Three Dots & A Dash. I always wondered why there was only a teaspoon of grenadine in the classic, and Paul tripled that value as well as doubling the Don's Mix (grapefruit juice and cinnamon syrup) to make for a more fruity mix.
McGee's Zombie filled the nose with caramel, berry, and clove aromas. Next, grapefruit and lime mingled with caramel on the sip, and the swallow donated rum, pomegranate, cinnamon, anise, and other spice flavors on the swallow. Indeed, this Zombie variation was much more fruit forward than the Don the Beachcomber one assuming a real pomegranate grenadine is in play.