Friday, January 31, 2020

death in the north atlantic

2 oz Irish Whiskey (Teeling Small Batch)
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Orange Juice
1/2 oz Brown Sugar Syrup
1/4 oz Don's Spices #2 (1/8 oz each Vanilla Syrup and Hamilton's Allspice Dram)
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Whip shake, pour into a Tiki mug, fill with crushed ice, and garnish with a mint sprig (omit) and an orange twist.

Two weeks ago, I was reading through my wrap-up post for Mixology Monday's Irish Wake, and I spotted a pair of Irish whiskey-laden Tiki drinks that would be perfect for the Tiki the Snow Away event on Instagram. The one that I began with was the Death in the North Atlantic by Kitchen Shamanism blog's Robin Famme (a/k/a Kafka Latte); while the name reminded me of my Hell in the Atlantic, it was a twist on Don the Beachcomber's Nui Nui.
The Death in the North Atlantic possessed an exotic nose of orange, allspice, vanilla, and clove elements. Next, orange, lime, and brown sugar notes mingled on the sip, and the swallow wrapped things up with whiskey, allspice, and vanilla flavors.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

improved kingston negroni

1 oz Appleton Reserve Rum (Appleton Signature)
1/2 oz Smith & Cross Rum
3/4 oz Punt e Mes
3/4 oz Zucca (Sfumato)
1 dash Pimento Bitters (1/8 oz Hamilton's Allspice Dram)

Stir with ice, strain into a double old fashioned glass with ice, and garnish with an orange twist.
Two Thursdays ago, I decided to make a recipe that I had spotted in a call for riffs on Joaquin Simo's 2009 Kingston Negroni at Death & Co. That drink was the Improved Kingston Negroni crafted by Sother Teague at Amor y Amargo. Once prepared, it met the nose with bright orange oils over smoky, bitter Chinese rhubarb root aromas. Next, grape with hints of darker notes on the sip slipped into funky rum quickly transitioning to bitter herbal, smoky, and allspice flavors on the swallow with an orange and smoke finish.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

italian leather sofa

3/4 oz Angel's Envy Bourbon
3/4 oz Rittenhouse Bonded Rye
1/2 oz Cocchi Sweet Vermouth
1/4 oz Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto
1/2 oz Ramazzotti Amaro
1/4 oz Benedictine
1 dash 18.21 Havana & Hide Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass pre-spritzed with Alice and the Magician's Tobacco Aromatics.

Two Wednesdays ago, I headed over to Backbar to see what they could do with the Angel's Envy Bourbon on their shelf; this interest began in the last few weeks as I became the Angel's Envy Whiskey Guardian for Boston. With that disclosure aside, bartender Kat Lamp opted to make Joseph Gabriel Habib's Vieux Carré riff called the Italian Leather Sofa. One of my friends on Instagram alerted me that this was named after a musical track by Cake, and it definitely seemed like the drink was shaped to match the song title. Also, a topic of conversation was the new Backbar cat mascot (see below) that is the third version of this bow tie cat design after the first two unfortunately got stolen (see cat #1 in this 2017 post and cat #2 in this 2019 post).
The Italian Leather Sofa greeted the nose with leathery aromas along with cedar wood ones. Next, grape and caramel on the sip led into whiskey, raisin, root beer, and citrus peel notes on the swallow with a leather and rose finish.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

second surfin' bird

1 1/2 oz Reposado Tequila (Cimarron)
1/2 oz Mezcal (Fidencio)
1/4 oz Campari
1/4 oz Ruby Port (Sandeman Tawny)
3/4 oz Pineapple Juice
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Passion Fruit Syrup
1/4 oz Simple Syrup

Blend with 12 oz crushed ice for 3 seconds or whip shake with crushed ice. Pour into a Tiki mug, top with crushed ice, and garnish with tropical flair.
To continue on with the Tiki the Snow Away month on Instagram, I decided upon the Second Surfin' Bird published in the most recent issue of Imbibe Magazine. This Jungle Bird riff was crafted by Paul McGee and Shelby Allison at Chicago's Lost Lake, and its combination reminded me of their eponymous Lost Lake drink but with agave spirits and ruby port instead of rum and Maraschino. Once prepared, the Second Surfin' Bird called out to the nose with vegetal agave, tropical, and smoke aromas. Next, lime and passion fruit on the sip flapped its way to a smoky agave, pineapple, and bitter orange swallow with a passion fruit finish. Overall, the end result was perhaps not that dissimilar from a Commando Bird made with mezcal and tequila.

Monday, January 27, 2020

oh captain, my captain

1 oz Plantation OFTD Rum
1 oz Plantation Stiggins' Fancy Pineapple Rum
1/2 oz Aged Jamaican Overproof Rum (Smith & Cross)
1/2 oz Falernum (Velvet)
1/2 oz Cinnamon Syrup
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1 tsp Fernet Branca
6 drop Absinthe (St. George)

Whip shake with crushed ice, pour into a Zombie glass (Tiki mug), and fill with crushed ice. Garnish with a mint bouquet (paper umbrella).

Two Mondays ago, to continue on with the Tiki the Snow Away event on Instagram, I delved into the Minimalist Tiki book and spotted Chad Austin's Oh Captain, My Captain. Besides the Walt Whitman allusion, I was attracted to recipe for it appeared like a Jet Pilot with pineapple rum, lemon juice, and Fernet Branca in place of an unflavored rum, grapefruit juice, and Angostura Bitters, respectively. Once assembled, the Oh Captain, My Captain launched off with cinnamon, funky rum, and minty aromas (even without a mint bouquet as garnish). Next, a caramel and lime sip sailed into funky rums, pineapple, cinnamon, menthol, and clove flavors on the swallow.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

the witty comeback

2 oz Old Overholt Rye
1/2 oz Averna
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Ginger Syrup

Shake with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe or rocks glass with ice (coupe), and garnish with an orange twist.

Two Sundays ago, I recalled a drink that I had spotted in a photo of a recent menu at Austin's Nickel City called the Witty Comeback. The recipe was crafted by writer Dan Saltzstein for a Bon Appetite piece in 2014. In that article, he discussed with Jim Meehan then of P.D.T. about what goes into creating a house cocktail to serve for guests at one's home. Jim's advice was to make something accessible such that "if your guests want to recreate it, they can source these ingredients." Other requirements were that the drink would "be indicative of your tastes, yet appeal to a broad enough audience." Even though Jim declared that the recipe would never make his menu, luckily others saw the value in it and proudly promoted it. And the combination seemed solid especially since it reminded me of Katie Emmerson's Calamity Jane that we served at our Women of the Wild West night in 2013.
The Witty Comeback offered up an orange, ginger, and rye bouquet to the nose. Next, lemon and malt on the sip returned with rye, herbal-orange, and ginger flavors on the swallow.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

who killed mr. moonlight?

1 oz Dark (or Aged) Jamaican Rum (Coruba)
1 oz Rhum Agricole Blanc (Clement Premiere Canne)
1 1/2 oz POG Juice (1/2 oz each Passion Fruit Nectar, Orange Juice, and Guava Juice)
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Ginger Syrup
1/2 oz Maraschino Liqueur (Luxardo)
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Whip shake with crushed ice, pour into a Tiki mug, fill with crushed ice, and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.

Two Saturdays ago after my bar shift, I decided to craft something tropical for the Instagram event Tiki the Snow Away. For inspiration, I started with Trader Sam's Nautilus especially its core of POG (passion fruit, orange, and guava) juice. More significant than the rum and citrus changes that I made were my alterations of the fruit and spice sweeteners; in place of the peach liqueur, I opted for Maraschino, and instead of the falernum, I went with a zesty ginger syrup. The Maraschino-ginger duo was one that stood out in the rye-based New Rider and that I had previously noted in One for Jimmy (with ginger beer instead of syrup). For a name, I dubbed this after a 1983 Bauhaus song "Who Killed Mr. Moonlight?"
The Who Killed Mr. Moonlight? wafted to the nose with woody nutmeg aromas. Next, lime and orange notes on the sip waned into rums, passion fruit, and guava flavors on the swallow with a delightful ginger-nutty cherry finish.

Friday, January 24, 2020

daisy buchanan

3/4 oz Aged Rum (Flor de Caña Añejo Oro)
3/4 oz Fernet Branca
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Crème de Cacao (Tempus Fugit)
1 Egg White

Shake once without ice and once with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with lemon oil from a twist and freshly grated nutmeg.
For the cocktail hour on Friday night two weeks prior, I decided to make the Daisy Buchanan that I spotted in Imbibe Magazine. This egg white Rum Sour had elements of Fernet Daiquiris like the Tiger Balm as well as the delightful Fernet-cacao duo that I tinkered with in my Fernet Alexander. Once prepared, this tribute to a character in The Great Gatsby welcomed the nose with lemon, woody spice, and minty menthol aromas. Next, a creamy lime and caramel sip was made jealous by rum, chocolate, and mint flavors on the swallow and a lime and menthol finish.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

parade of the fairies

1 oz Banhez Espadin & Barril Mezcal
1 oz Cocchi Americano
1/4 oz Green Chartreuse
1/4 oz Galliano
1/2 tsp Rosemary Tincture-Bigallet Thyme Liqueur (50:50)

Stir with ice and strain into a double old fashioned glass pre-rinsed with Mata Hari Absinthe.
After excusing myself at Amor y Amargo after a single round, I headed over to Pouring Ribbons a short walk away. There, I asked Steven the bartender for the Parade of the Fairies which seemed like an intriguing herbal mezcal cocktail that he described as their Sazerac riff. Here, the combination of Green Chartreuse and Galliano was one that I had noted worked well in the Jimador Sour at Craigie on Main. Once prepared, the Parade of the Fairies danced to the nose with vegetal and smoke notes from the mezcal plus herbal and anise accents from the Chartreuse and absinthe, respectively. Next, a sip with decent body and hints of orchard fruit twirled into a smoky mezcal, herbal Chartreuse, and spice swallow.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

heaven or las vegas

1 1/2 oz Evan Williams Bourbon
3/4 oz St. Agrestis Infernal Bitter
3/4 oz Byrrh Quinquina
1 dash Ceylon Cinnamon Bitters.

Stir with ice, strain into a single old fashioned with ice, and garnish with a lemon twist.

As mentioned in the Jack Kearns post, I was headed into New York City for a new work venture. After my responsibilities were finished for the day on Wednesday, I was already in the East Village, so I headed a few blocks over to Amor y Amargo. There, I asked bartender Mel for the Heaven or Las Vegas -- I was not sure whether my love of the Cocteau Twins that began in the 1990s or the ingredients list drew me in more (Heaven or Las Vegas was the band's 6th album). The mystery ingredient in the mix was Infernal Bitter that was created by a Brooklyn-based company, and this aperitivo "has Campari bitterness, with more herbal complexity, more freshness, all natural color, and uses 100% organic ingredients. A juicy and refreshing combination of fruits, vegetables, and flowers... [with] three macerations: a bitter maceration, a floral maceration, and a citrus maceration." Essentially, the combination seemed to fall into the camp of a Boulevardier riff.
Once prepared, the Heaven or Las Vegas wafted to the senses with a lemon oil and orange-herbal aroma. Next, a citrus and grape sip gave way to a Campari-like swallow with a spicy cinnamon and vegetal pepper finish.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

jack kearns

3/4 Dry Gin (1 1/2 oz Tanqueray)
1/4 Daiquiri Rum (1/2 oz Uruapan Charanda Blanco)
1 dash Lemon Juice (1/2 oz)
1 dash Simple Syrup (1/2 oz)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe; I added a lemon twist.
After my work shift two Tuesdays ago, I had already pre-selected a recipe so that I could expedite my bedtime for I was waking up rather early to travel to New York City. That drink was the Jack Kearns from the 1937 Café Royal Cocktail Book which came across like a Gin Sour crossed with perhaps a Daiquiri. It was perhaps named after the boxer from around that time who was better known as a flamboyant boxing coach who managed Jack Dempsey. To make the mix more intriguing, I utilized a funky half agricole style rum, Uruapan Charanda. Once prepared, the Jack Kearns led off with a lemon, rum funk, and pine combo to the nose. Next, the lemon dominated the sip, and the swallow swung with juniper, grassy rum, and citrus flavors.

Monday, January 20, 2020

rudy ray

3/4 oz Four Roses Bourbon
3/4 oz Benedictine
3/4 oz Amaro Pasubio
3/4 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe.

Two Mondays ago, Andrea and I ventured down to Estragon to visit bartender Sahil Mehta. For a drink, I browsed his recipe notebook until I saw an equal part number that was his drink of the day in mid-November. Besides the Bourbon, Benedictine, and lemon in the mix, the fourth ingredient was a wine-based amaro flavored with blueberries, Alpine herbs, gentian, wormwood, and quinine called Pasubio. While I have tasted this amaro from the Dolomite Mountain region before at a Haus Alpenz tasting, I never had it mixed into a cocktail. For a name, the amaro's origin made me think of the 1975 movie Dolemite, and I asked Sahil what he thought of naming it the Rudy Ray after the starring actor.
The Rudy Ray met the nose with a blueberry and herbal aroma. Next, lemon and grape on the sip gave way to whiskey, blueberry, gentian, and wormwood flavors on the swallow.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

commando life

2 oz Plantation Stiggins' Fancy Pineapple Rum
3/4 oz Banana Liqueur (Giffard)
1/2 oz Passion Fruit Syrup
1 oz Don's Mix (2/3 oz Grapefruit Juice + 1/3 oz Cinnamon Syrup)
3/4 oz Lime Juice

Flash blend with crushed ice (whip shake with crushed ice), pour into a snifter glass, and fill with crushed ice. Garnish with a mint sprig (grapefruit twist).
To continue on with the Instagram Tiki the Snow Away event, I selected the Minimalist Tiki book for the evening's libation two Sundays ago. The one that called out to me was the Commando Life by Jason Alexander as his take on Pagan Idol's Banana Life. Once prepared, the Commando Life greeted the senses with a grapefruit aroma over banana and cinnamon notes. Next, grapefruit and lime on the sip led into rum, pineapple, passion fruit, and banana flavors on the swallow with a pineapple and cinnamon finish. Overall, it was rather well balanced, and I was impressed at how the different flavors each took the forefront on successive sips.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

christmas eve of destruction

1 1/2 oz Plantation OFTD Rum
1 1/2 oz Nutmeg Syrup (*)
1 oz Lime Juice
1/4 oz Benedictine
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Blend with 1 cup of crushed ice for 4-6 seconds in a spindle blender (shake with crushed ice). Pour into a Zombie glass or Tiki mug, fill with crushed ice, and garnish with a lime wheel studded with cloves and dusted with freshly grated nutmeg (omit the nutmeg).
(*) Combine 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water, and 1 whole nutmeg grated. Bring to a slow boil, simmer covered for 10-15 minutes, and let steep for several hours. Strain through cheesecloth and bottle. I reduced this by 4 fold and utilized a coffee cup in the microwave with several 30-60 second heating cycles over the course of an afternoon. This syrup is also available in Grenada as I learned at a Tales of the Cocktail 2016 talk on nutmeg.

On my blog feed, I spotted an interview on the Atomic Grog blog with Beachbum Berry about the Sippin' Santa event. In the article was a recipe that was their interpretation of Sippin' Santa's Christmas Eve of Destruction, and they attributed the recipe to Brad Smith of Beachbum Berry's Latitude 29. I was able to find another recipe for the drink that had one ounce of each of the ingredients and one dash of bitters; however, that one was attributed to Cocktail Kingdom General Manager Joann Spiegel. In the Atomic Grog article, Berry stated that all of the drinks this year were created by Brad and himself, so perhaps the equal parts recipe was an older version (although it could be the correct one as well or misattributed). Regardless, I felt that the drink name allusion to Barry McGuire's "Eve of Destruction" was quite apt given the military activity in the Middle East that weekend.
The Christmas Eve of Destruction welcomed the nose with lime, clove, and nutmeg notes. Next, lime and caramel mingled on the sip, and the swallow launched in with rum, nutmeg, and clove flavors.

Friday, January 17, 2020


2 oz Appleton Estate Reserve Rum (Appleton Signature)
2 oz Barbancourt Pango Rum (Plantation Pineapple)
1 oz Crème de Peche (Mathilde)
3 oz POG Juice (1 oz each Passion Fruit Nectar, Orange Juice, and Guava Juice)
1 oz Falernum (Velvet)
1 oz Agave Nectar
1 oz Lime Juice
1 oz Lemon Juice
5 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with crushed ice, pour into a Nautilus submarine Tiki mug (Tiki bowl), and fill with crushed ice. Garnish with flowers, pineapple leaves, and cherries (ignited Plantation OFTD Rum).
Two Fridays ago, I decided to make a recipe that I had spotted on Reddit that seemed perfect for the Tiki the Snow Away event on Instagram, namely the Nautilus. The Nautilus is a drink for two created at Trader Sam's Grog Grotto Room, and I was able to confirm the recipe elsewhere on the web. Besides my swapping one Appleton Rum for another, I decided to substitute the Barbancourt pineapple-mango "Pango" spiced rum for Plantation Stiggins' Fancy Pineapple Rum; otherwise, I was able to execute the drink the same save for the vessel and garnish. Once prepared, the Nautilus rose to the surface with a guava, passion fruit, and peach aroma. Next, it cruised along with an orange, lime, and caramel sip that turned into rum, peach, guava, and passion fruit on the swallow.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

piranha punch

2 oz Lemon Hart 1804 Rum (El Dorado 5 Year)
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
2 oz Guava Juice
1/2 oz Falernum (Velvet)
1/4 oz Campari

Whip shake with 5 oz crushed ice, pour into a Tiki mug, top with crushed ice, and float 1/4 oz grenadine.
Two Thursdays ago for January's Tiki the Snow Away, I decided to make a recipe that Tiki Lindy crafted for her October SpookTiki (subtitled Happy Hulaween and Mahaloween) event on Instagram. That drink was the Piranha Punch that sent me searching in my local Brazilian supermarket for guava juice to make this libation. Once built, the Piranha Punch offered berry and guava aromas to the nose. Next, a tropical and lemon sip bit into rum, guava, and bitter orange flavors on the swallow. Once the grenadine sank into the drink, the pomegranate's berry flavors began to complement the guava and Campari notes.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020


1 oz Dark Rum (Plantation Original Dark)
1/2 oz Funky Jamaican Rum (Smith & Cross)
1 1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Zucca or Sfumato Rabarbaro (Sfumato)
1/2 oz Honey Syrup 1:1
2 dash Angostura Bitters
1 dash Absinthe (Butterfly)

Whip shake, pour into a Tiki mug, fill with crushed ice, and garnish with Tiki intent (citrus twists).

After writing up the Uzi Tenenbaum on the blog, I re-familiarized myself with Frank Cisneros' rye-based companion piece, the Margot Tenenbaum. From that, I extracted the rabarbaro, honey, and citrus trio and decided to construct a Tiki drink out of it two Wednesdays ago for the Instagram Tiki the Snow Away event. For a structure, I looked to the Jungle Bird and Test Pilot and also extracted their pineapple, bitters, and absinthe elements. The dark smokiness of Sfumato made me think of wreckage, and the name Shipwrecked popped into my head and stuck.
The Shipwrecked began with citrus oil over dark smoky aromas. Next, lime and honey crashed together on the sip, and the swallow drifted in with funky rum melding into smoky herbal flavors with a honey and spice finish.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020


2 oz Column Still Aged Rum (Flor de Caña Añejo Oro)
1/2 oz Velvet Falernum
1 oz Coconut Cream (Goya)
1 oz Lemon Juice
1 dash Orange Bitters (Regan's)
1 oz Seltzer

Combine in a drink mixer tin with 12 oz crushed ice, flash blend, and pour into a Tiki mug or double old fashioned glass (shake all but the seltzer with crushed ice, pour into a Mai Tai glass with the seltzer, and top with crushed ice).

After getting home from my New Year's Eve bar shift, it was well after midnight, so that meant that it was now January -- the beginning of the third annual Instagram Tiki the Snow Away event! To kick things off, I reached for The Smuggler's Cove book and found the perfect drink to utilize my new Bartender Secret Santa Gift of a pair of Rumba's Mai Tai glasses. That recipe was the Falinum which Martin Cate created for his friend Falin Minoru who is a Tiki mug artist and proprietor of Tiki Kaimuku Fine Boozing Vessels.
The Falinum floated up to the nose with a lemon and coconut bouquet. Next, a creamy lemon sip entered into a rum, coconut, ginger, and clove swallow.

Monday, January 13, 2020


5/10 Canadian Club Whisky (1 1/2 oz Alberta Premium Canadian Rye)
2/10 Drambuie (1/2 oz)
2/10 Bols Crème de Banane (1/2 oz Giffard)
1/10 Lemon Juice (1/2 oz)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
After working my third shift out of six in a row for New Year's week two Mondays ago, I was much in the need of a drink. Therefore, I turned to the 1937 Café Royal Cocktail Book and spotted the Regency created by UK Bartenders Guild member W.H. Taylor. While the crème de banane craze of recent seems to be unique at first, it was present in the cocktail literature in British drink books during the '30s. We purchased our first bottle of Giffard's Banane du Bresil back in 2010 to make the Metropine from the same book, and we have found many uses over the past decade including my creation of the Banana Dance in 2012. Once prepared, the Regency welcomed the nose with honey, banana, and light whiskey aromas. Next, lemon and honey notes on the sip switched places with whisky and banana flavors on the swallow.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

player piano

3/4 oz Neisson Rhum Agricole (Clement Premiere Canne)
3/4 oz Aperol
3/4 oz St. Germain (St. Elder)
3/4 oz Lime Juice
(2 dash Bittermens Tiki Bitters) (*)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
(*) Not listed in the 2011 article, but the drink creator thought that it might have had it (albeit 8+ years after the fact).

Two Sundays ago, I saw a reference to Colin Shearn's Transatlantic Giant, and besides putting an asterisk next to its entry in my current bartending moleskin, I decided to seek out another recipe of Colin's that I had not tried before. My web search led me to a 2011 Philadelphia Magazine article that offered up his Player Piano recipe that he crafted at the Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co. After I tagged Colin in my Instagram post, he replied that he was "pretty sure it also had some Bittermens Tiki Bitters. But not 100% -- it was a long time ago." Either way, I was curious to try this recipe especially since Aperol-elderflower drinks like the Dunniette and the Waltz of the Flowers have been rather tasty.
Without the bitters, the Player Piano unfurled a grapefruit, floral, and grassy aroma. Next, lime and orange mingled on the sip, and the swallow continued on with grassy funk, floral, and grapefruit notes.

Saturday, January 11, 2020


1 1/2 oz Linie Aquavit (Aalborg)
3/4 oz Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth
1/2 oz Amaro Meletti
1 tsp Luxardo Maraschino
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with a lemon twist.
After my work shift two Saturdays ago, I reached for the NoMad Cocktail Book for a nightcap. There, I was intrigued by Jessica Gonzalez's Argyle that came across like an aquavit Brooklyn rift. Once prepared, the Argyle knitted a lemon and caraway aroma. Next, caramel and cherry notes on the sip wove into caraway, nutty cherry, herbal, and floral flavors on the swallow. Overall, I was impressed at how well the aquavit and Maraschino interacted in the glass.

Friday, January 10, 2020

negroni futurista

1 oz Sloe Gin (Averell Damson Gin)
1 oz Fino Sherry (Lustau)
1 oz Campari

Build in a double old fashioned glass, add ice, and stir to mix and chill (stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass with a large ice cube). Garnish with a lemon twist.
My cocktail thirst two Friday nights ago led me to Gary Regan's The Negroni book. There, I came upon the two page spread of recipes from the Negroni Club in Munich, and I latched onto Mauro Mahjoub's Negroni Futurista with its sloe gin to work with the Campari. It was very similar to the Sharon with the Fino/Manzanilla sherry and Campari, but the Sharon opted for the more traditional sweet vermouth component instead of sloe gin. The Negroni Futurista proffered a bright lemon oil over darker notes from the Damson plum to the nose. Next, berry with a crisp white grape sip sprung forward into plum melding into bitter orange flavors on the swallow with a savory finish.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

uzi tenenbaum

1 1/2 oz London Dry Gin (Beefeater)
1/2 oz 2:1 Ginger Syrup (1/2 oz 1:1 Ginger Syrup + 1 tsp 1:1 Simple Syrup)
1/2 oz Zucca (Sfumato)
3/4 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice, strain into a Collins glass with soda water (2 oz), top with ice, and garnish with candied ginger (lemon twist).

Two Thursdays ago, I picked up Matt Teacher's The Spirit of Gin book that I read in early 2018 to see if there was a glossed over recipe. The one that called out to me was in the chapter on New York City's now defunct Gin Palace, and it was called the Uzi Tenenbaum. I surmised this one was from Frank Cisneros for it seemed like it was a companion piece to his rye-based Margot Tenenbaum published in Amanda Schuster's New York Cocktails. My research uncovered a Wall Street Journal article that put the creation of this gin-based drink tribute for a character in Wes Anderson's The Royal Tenenbaums movie to around 2012.
The Uzi Tenenbaum greeted the senses with a lemon, dark herbal, and juniper aroma. Next, a carbonated lemon and toasty char sip switched over to a gin swallow with Sfumato's smoky bitter herbal notes blending into ginger's zingy flavors (which continued on into the finish).

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

bamboo flip

1 1/4 oz Fino Sherry (Lustau)
1 1/4 oz Dry Vermouth (Noilly Prat)
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1 dash Orange Bitters (Regan's)
1 Whole Egg

Shake once without ice and once with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.
After reading about a Fino Flip, I was tempted to make that style of Sherry Flip (I have had ones with other sherry types). Instead, my mind drifted to the Bamboo Cocktail, and I wondered what a Bamboo Flip would be like? Once assembled, it met the nose with nutmeg and a savory wine note from the Fino and perhaps the vermouth. Next, a creamy and clean sip was followed by a sake-like swallow with a hint of orange, spice, and herbal accents. The rice wine flavor seemed to tie back into the 1890s Japanese origins of the Bamboo Cocktail at the Grand Hotel in Yokohama.

Monday, January 6, 2020


56 oz Sweetened Condensed Milk (4 1/2 oz Goya)
48 oz Evaporated Milk (3 3/4 oz Stop & Shop)
24 oz Cream of Coconut (2 oz Goya)
4 tsp Vanilla Extract (3/10 tsp)
4 tsp Ground Cinnamon (3/10 tsp Freshly Grated)
1 tsp Ground Nutmeg (1/10 tsp Freshly Grated)
750 mL White, Añejo, or Spiced Rum (2 oz Don Q Extra Añejo)

Mix all but the rum in a pot, bring to a simmer while stirring, and then let cool. Stir in the rum and refrigerate. Serve over ice in a rocks glass and garnish with a cinnamon stick.
After I mentioned the buzz about Coquito, the Puerto Rican version of Egg Nog, Andrea was curious and went out shopping for the ingredients to mix up a batch. For a recipe, I wanted a more authentic voice (I believe that some of the web chatter was about Martha Stewart declaring that Coquito was "a take on a coffee drink made in Puerto Rico"), so I found one by Giuseppe Gonzalez, a well-respected bartender who grew up in Puerto Rico and has graced the posts on this blog several times. I scaled down his recipe that I sourced from Liquor.Com to make around a single serving. Once in the glass, this Egg Nog without eggs offered up luscious coconut, cinnamon, and caramelized milk aromas. Next, a thick and creamy sip led into a rum, coconut, cinnamon, and vanilla swallow. The coconut and dairy here provided plenty of sweetness and richness to make the eggs and sugar of the classic unnecessary.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

old ironsides

1 1/2 oz Scarlet Ibis Rum (Privateer Navy Yard)
1/2 oz Cruzan Black Strap Rum
1 oz Dolin Rouge Vermouth (Martini Grand Lusso)
1 tsp Lazzaroni Amaretto (Disaronno)
1 dash Fee's Whiskey Barrel-Aged Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe.
Two Sundays ago, I was flipping through the Death & Co. Cocktail Book and spotted the Old Ironsides. It was not the Old Ironsides crafted by Sean Kenyon but one designed by Brian Miller in 2009. I probably skipped over this recipe numerous times either out of waiting until I purchased Scarlet Ibis Rum or due to my skepticism of amaretto-containing cocktails; I got over the first part by subbing in Privateer's Navy Yard, and I am still not sure how I got past the second aspect (most likely a curiosity of how Brian Miller's wizardry would handle it). Once prepared, the Old Ironsides donated a nutty and grape bouquet to the nose. Next, grape and caramel on the sip sailed into rum, molasses, nutty, and cinnamon flavors on the swallow that came across much like maple syrup. The drink itself is named after the USS Constitution that is docked in Charlestown, MA, and I had the privilege of seeing it fire off its guns while on a rum-sponsored harbor cruise this past summer.

Saturday, January 4, 2020


2 oz Plymouth Gin (Tanqueray)
1 oz Orange Juice
1/4 oz Tempus Fugit Crème de Cacao
1/2 Egg White (1 Egg White)

Shake once without ice and once with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with an orange twist (5 drop Bittermens Mole Bitters).
Two Saturdays ago, I reached for Frank Caiafa's 2016 The Waldorf Astoria Bar Book and spotted his slight interpretation of the Savannah from the 1935 The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book. With my change of garnish, the Savannah met the nose with a chocolate aroma. Next, a creamy orange sip marched into a pine, chocolate, and citrus swallow. Nothing too complex here, but the combination was rather enjoyable.

Friday, January 3, 2020

lake george

1 oz Jameson Irish Whiskey (Teeling Small Batch)
1 oz Glenlivet Scotch (Cutty Sark Prohibition)
1/2 oz Drambuie
1/2 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe.
For a drink idea two Friday nights ago, I reached for the PDT Cocktail Book and discovered the Lake George that I had never made before. This Whiskey Sour was crafted by Brian Shebairo while vacationing on the shores of Lake George in Winter 2009, and it featured a split base of Irish and Scotch whisk(e)y sweetened with Drambuie. Once prepared, the Lake George let out a honey, malt, and hint of peat to the nose. Next, lemon, honey, and malt mingled on the sip, and the swallow rolled in with the Scotch being more dominant than the Irish whiskey all with a honey-herbal finish.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

beach yowie

1 1/2 oz Blanco Tequila (Lunazul)
1 1/2 oz Mango Juice (Trader Joe's 100% Juice)
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Vanilla Syrup
1/8 oz (1 bsp) Fernet Branca

Shake with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe rimmed with Chinese 5 Spice-salt, and garnish with citrus (floated dried lemon wheel).

Just like last year, I signed up to participate in the Secret Santé event on Instagram organized by ServedBySoberon. The event which garnered 169 participants this year has each Instagram (home)bartender assigned to a person who they create a drink to celebrate or pay tribute to them. My assignment was CocktailsMandurah -- an Australian named Kori who loves Margaritas, pretty drinks, fancy rimmed glasses, amaro, vanilla, and tropical juices. Since I had an unopened can of mango juice, my idea began to take shape with tequila, vanilla syrup, and lime juice with the Jungle Bird as a structure. As accents, a few dashes of Fernet Branca in the mix and a Chinese five spice and salt rim rounded out the combination.
For a name, I considered the fact that Kori is in Western Australia where it is currently summer; to make the drink more exotic, I conjured up the idea of a Yowie, a Bigfoot creature that haunts the Outback, on the beach to surf away Christmas. Once prepared, the Beach Yowie met the nose with clove and anise spice aromas from the rim along with mango and a hint of menthol from the drink itself. Next, mango and lime on the sip swam into tequila, tropical, and vanilla flavors on the swallow with a hint of Fernet's bitter herbal notes on the finish.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

have a ball

1 1/2 oz Pierre Ferrand 1840 Cognac
1/2 oz Bols Genever
3/4 oz Cinnamon Syrup
1 heaping bsp Crème Fraîche
1 Whole Egg

Shake once without ice and once with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with freshly grated cinnamon and a few drops of blue food coloring swirled into designs.
Two Wednesdays ago, I stopped into the Maccabbee Bar, a Hanukkah-themed pop-up at Backbar in Somerville curated by Naomi Levi for the second year in a row. For a drink, I asked bartender Carlo Caroscio for the Have a Ball that seemed like an interesting Egg Nog concept with the Cognac-Genever base and the crème fraîche as the dairy. Once prepared, it welcomed the nose with cinnamon and egg nog aromas. Next, a creamy and malt-laden sip rolled into Cognac, Genever's malt and botanicals, and cinnamon flavors on the swallow. As things warmed up, the tart dairy note of the crème fraîche became more apparent.

:: fred's picks for the top cocktails of 2019 ::

Towards the end of 2010, I was challenged to pick my favorite drink of the year, and I was overwhelmed due to the vast number of great options to chose from. I decided to break it down by month with a runner up or two, and I based by choices on two factors -- tastiness and uniqueness; they had to be both memorable and worth repeating. I used to divide up this list by drinks had out on the town and drinks made at the home bar, but as life changes, I decided to combine the two last year to make up for my inability to be an overactive barfly. Without further ado, here is the 10th annual installment of my best drinks for the year (by the month the post appeared).

January: For top pick of the month, I opted for Sam Treadway's Black Magic as a mezcal Negroni meets a Revolver at Backbar. For runners up, I selected two richer drinks: the first one was an Scotch-Cynar Egg Nog with maple and coffee notes called the Barnaby Jones from the Cocktail Codex book and the other was a Cognac-mezcal Manhattan of sorts with raisiny sherry and quinquina called the Nobless Oblige from Nick Desoto at London's Experimental Cocktail Club.

February: I gave the nod to an elegant rum-Cognac Old Fashioned-styled number called the French Connection at the Baldwin Bar. Notable February recipes were the Serious Moonlight as a honey-Chartreuse Pisco Sour crafted by Nick Elezovic for the David Bowie cocktail biopic and the Italian Buck from the Canon Cocktail Book as well as Brad Parson's Amaro.
March: My three picks for the month were all amaro-driven recipes with the winner being Dan Greenbaum's Remember the Alimony with its simplicity of gin, Fino, and Cynar. Frank Cisneros' Margot Tenenbaum as a Gold Rush with Zucca/Sfumato and Liam Odien's Frankie Panky as a tequila riff on the Savoy's Hanky Panky but named after a burlesque performer.

April: Sahil Mehta's Double Dutch at Estragon was a delightful Genever-Batavia Arrack Sour that got the top honor for April. Shannon Mustipher's Muertito Vivo as a Zombie riff with Jagermeister donating Tiki spices and Brian Kane's National Treasure as a Boulevardier-like drink were also pretty cool tipples.
May: I was impressed by the Boulevardier-Brown Derby mashup, the An Englishman, a Frenchman, and an Italian Walk into an L.A. Bar, crafted by a Boston amateur mixologist, James Wallace, who I met at Thirst Boston this year. The No. 2 Fleet Street as a gin-based Mr. Bali Hai of sorts and the Showdown as a Daiquiri meets a Trinidad Sour were worthy of runner up status.

June: For June, I opted for Terry Williams' Passing Deadline that came across like a gentian-tinged Manhattan that he created at the Anvil in Houston. I was also pleased with Ariana Vitale's Wicked Behavior as a floral and herbal Whiskey Sour and Blair Reynold's slight riff on a Tiki classic with the Lapu Lapu.
July: In the heat of July, Jack McGarry's Pharaoh Cooler from the PDT Cocktail Book hit the spot with a magical combination of watermelon, grenadine, and rose water. For runners up, David Wondrich's Barbadian Gin Punch Swizzle with the quirky but tasty duo of Genever and coconut water had roots in mid-19th century island culture; and also, the De La Louisiane-Old Fashioned hybrid, the Hazard, from Jiri Malis in Denmark was notable with its maple accent.

August: While I wanted to give some acknowledgement to the Beta Cocktails' Italian Heirloom, I decided that August (and September as well) will be Tiki month(s). For the gold star, it was a tough choice of two drinks from the Minimalist Tiki book by Matt Pietrek and Carrie Smith, but Chad Austin's Mammoth Tusk won out over a Jason Alexander recipe. For silver stars, Shannon Mustipher's Rumfire Walker from her Tiki: Modern Tropical Cocktails book (also difficult narrowing it down from two of hers) with its delightful Cinn-pari duo (I now have a bottle of Cinn-pari at work!), and El Nova's Moonkist Twist as his take on the Moonkist Coconut from the Mai Kai in Florida.
September: Yes, Tiki month continues into September. Passing over Jason Alexander for August was tough, but I decided that I liked his drink in the next month even more: the Port of Innsmouth as his H.P. Lovecraft-inspired Nui Nui riff from Minimalist Tiki. Deserving of the aloha nod are Justin Wojslaw's Transatlantic Orbit and the 1960s Polynesian Paralysis.

October: Veering away from Tiki for a moment and back to more classic-style cocktails. One that I really enjoyed since it is a riff on one of my favorite Martini variations, the Poet's Dream -- Keegan McGregor's agave-based Dead Poet was quite enjoyable. Garnering honors for the month, Sother Teague's Waterproof Watch and Sahil Mehta's aperitif that reminded me of dandelions -- the Lion's Tooth.
November: I was quite surprised that I had never made an old Jim Meehan drink called El Puente -- it does not appear in the PDT Cocktail Book but only in Greg Boehm and Jeff Mason's 2009 The Big Bartender's Book. I probably skipped it due to not having cucumber on hand, but this mezcal number has great melon flavors in the mix from the cucumber. Worthy of note are Pip Hanson's Marley's Ghost as a rum Manhattan of sorts and Michael Boughton's Rose Gold at the Smoke Shop in Somerville as a Gold Rush meets a Campari Sour.

December: Another challenging month to make decisions for, but the Evan Harrison's Bodega at State Park as a pineapple rum Green Point had modern flare on a slightly older feel base. I also enjoyed the Broadway from The NoMad Cocktail Book which reminded me of a Bensonhurst, and enjoyed the Mr. Pink that was a Jungle Bird reshaped to be an egg white Sour.

Alas, 2019 has come and gone. Why bother reflecting on the bad times (and the hangovers) and just recall the best moments? Here, I narrowed it down to 37 drinks (I somehow snuck in a bonus one in August by not giving it an award during Tiki Month #1) -- all great mementos of my trip around the sun. Like last year, many were made at home; while it may not have the great hospitality of the bars around Boston, it does have the latest last call, great drinking buddies (my wife and/or my cats), and cheap prices! Some were had out and about when time and finances allowed it. Good luck to all of your imbibings in 2020 and stay in touch!