Tuesday, March 31, 2020

countess of the caribbean

1 1/2 oz Aged Cuban-Style Rum (Havana Club 7 Year)
1/2 oz Aperol
1/2 oz Cynar
1/2 oz Fino Sherry (Lustau)
1 dash Lemon Juice (1/2 bsp)

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass with a large ice cube. The photo showed a lemon twist so I added one too.
Two Tuesdays ago, I turned to the March/April issue of Imbibe Magazine where I spotted the Countess of the Caribbean. The recipe was created by Fede Cuco of Verne in Buenos Aires, and the Cynar-Aperol-sherry reminded me of the Juan Bautista. In the glass, the Countess of the Caribbean donated a lemon and orange bouquet to the nose. Next, a caramel sip from the Cynar and aged rum led into a rum, orange, caramel, and herbal swallow with a melon-like finish.

Monday, March 30, 2020

miles to go before i sleep

1 oz Bourbon (Old Grand-Dad Bonded)
1 oz Apple Brandy (Laird's Bonded)
3/4 oz Cardamaro
1/8 oz Green Chartreuse (1 bsp)
1/8 oz Maple Syrup (1 bsp)
2 dash Mole Bitters (Bittermens)

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

Given the Expense Account a few nights before, I was inspired to think about stirred drinks that utilized a hint of maple like the 3am on Saint Mark's Place and the Don Lockwood. Next, maple made me think of apples, and apple brandy linked in my mind with Cardamaro. The maple-Green Chartreuse pairing in the Handsome Jack and the Truce as well as splitting the base with Bourbon and accenting with chocolate bitters rounded out the concept. For a name, the apple and maple elements conjured up Robert Frost poems, and I dubbed this one the Miles to Go Before I Sleep.
The Miles to Go Before I Sleep traveled to the nose with orange, apple, and herbal aromas. Next, maple and grape held hands on the sip, and the swallow continued on with Bourbon, apple, and herbal flavors with a maple and chocolate finish.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

right hand

1 1/2 oz Aged Rum (1/2 oz Privateer Navy Yard + 1/2 oz Old Ipswich Tavern Style + 1/2 oz Ryan & Wood Folly Cove)
3/4 oz Sweet Vermouth (Cocchi)
3/4 oz Campari
3 dash Bittermens Mole Bitters

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

Two Sundays ago, I was inspired by the Louisiana Purchase from A Spot at the Bar as a Cognac variant on a Gold Rush or Bee's Knees, and I looked to see if the Hand series was there. I ended up finding it in Sasha Petraske's Regarding Cocktails where it provided a little history of the drinks. Sam Ross described how, "We created a series of 'Hand' cocktails in the early days of Milk & Honey. The Right Hand was an aged-rum take; Tres Hands was its mezcal and tequila sister; and the Smoking Hand was her brother from Islay and the Highlands. Before the Boulevardier came back into prominence, this [the Left Hand] was a bourbon riff on the Negroni that we created using the newly released chocolate bitters from the Bittermens." Despite having referenced the Left and Right Hands in riffs like the Left Hand of Darkness and the Red Right Hook, I had never written about either, and I decided to start with the rum-based Right Hand. Taking the Donn the Beachcomber approach of "What one rum can't do, three rums can!", I made this a three Massachusetts rum Right Hand by sourcing two rums from Ipswich and one from Gloucester.
The Right Hand waved to the nose with an aged rum and bitter orange orange aroma. Next, caramel and grape on the sip grasped into rich rums and caramel orange flavors on the swallow with a bitter chocolate and orange finish.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

it's a long, long way

1 1/2 oz Angel's Envy Bourbon
1/2 oz Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth
1 bsp Yellow Chartreuse
2 dash Lustau Amontillado Sherry
1 dash Fee's Black Walnut Bitters

Stir with ice and strain in rocks glass with a large cube. Garnish with a lemon and an orange twist and finish with smoke via a torched cedar disk.
In my final trip around town before sheltering inside, I stopped into Wit's End to order an Angel's Envy Bourbon drink. Bartender Harrison Snow was game to make a cocktail, and since Saint Paddy's Day was approaching, he was inspired to riff on the Tipperary. Besides switching the Irish whiskey to Bourbon, Harrison found the classic equal parts drink to be unbalanced, and he shifted the proportions. He also swapped to the more gentle Yellow Chartreuse and provided additional depth with small amounts of Amontillado sherry and walnut bitters to complement the Bourbon. For a name, I stuck with the Tipperary aspect and dubbed this one after a 1914 movie "It's A Long, Long Way to Tipperary."
The It's a Long, Long Way met the nose with cedar smoke that was brightened with lemon and orange oil aromas. Next, a grape-driven sip led into Bourbon and nutty flavors on the swallow. Overall, I was impressed at how the small amount of sherry provided a decent amount of complexity here and at how long the smoke note persisted into the experience.

Friday, March 27, 2020

the blind hen

1 oz Tequila (Lunazul Blanco)
1 oz Pimm's #1
1/2 oz Swedish Punsch
1/2 oz Cocchi Americano
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1 dash Peychaud's Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe.

Two Fridays ago, I came across my Swedish punsch cheat sheet and was inspired to tinker. I decided to mashup the Metexa and the Pimmeron into a shaken drink served up. Originally, I tried this with the Pimmeron's dry vermouth, but it seemed a little off and it improved with the Metexa's Lillet (here, Cocchi Americano). I split the spirit with Pimm's akin to the Hungry Like the Wolf, and the end result reminded me of the Chutes & Ladders. Therefore, I kept with the children's games naming convention, and dubbed this one The Blind Hen after the Mexican game La Gallinita Ciega.
The Blind Hen spun the nose around with agave and herbal aromas. Next, lemon and red fruit on the sip were chased by tequila's vegetal flavors melding into the Swedish punsch's funk and tea notes on the swallow with a cherry and anise finish.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

expense account

1/2 oz Aged Rum (RL Seale 10 Year)
1/2 oz Blackstrap Rum (Cruzan)
1/2 oz Calvados (Boulard VSOP)
1/2 oz Benedictine
1 bsp Maple Syrup
2 dash Orange Bitters (Angostura Orange)

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe glass pre-rinsed with absinthe (St. George), and garnish with an orange twist.
Thursday two weeks ago, I turned to Imbibe Magazine for the evening's nightcap. There, I was lured in by the Expense Account by Peter Hill at Winnipeg's now defunct Albert Street Cocktail Company; the recipe reminded me of the Wooden Ships and the Hazard with the spirit, herbal liqueur, touch of maple syrup, and bitters format. In the glass, the Expense Account shared an anise, orange, and maple-caramel aroma. Next, a molasses-like sip gave way to rum, apple, maple, and herbal flavors on the swallow.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

honey dew

2 oz Plantation Original Dark Rum
1/2 oz Perry's Tot Navy Strength Gin (Hayman's Royal Dock))
1/2 oz Cocchi Americano
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup

Shake with ice, strain into a double old fashioned glass or goblet filled with crushed ice (coupe glass without ice), and garnish with an orange wheel (lemon twist).
Two Wednesdays ago, I returned to Frank Caiafa's 2016 The Old Waldorf Astoria Bar Book and spotted the Honey Dew. It was their modern interpretation of the recipe found in the 1935 bar book which called for Cocchi Americano and simple syrup instead the original's vermouth and water; the rum was also switched to a softer dark rum from a Jamaican one. Once assembled, the Honey Dew greeted the nose with a lemon oil, caramel, and juniper nose. Next, lemon and orchard fruit on the sip gave way to rum and juniper notes on the swallow with a lemon and melon finish.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020


1/3 Daiquiri Rum (1 oz Privateer Tres Aromatique)
2/3 Martini Sweet Vermouth (2 oz Cocchi Sweet Vermouth)
3 dash Aperitivo Rossi (1 tsp Martini & Rossi Bitter)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass; I added an orange twist.
Two Tuesdays ago, I reached for the 1937 Café Royal Cocktail Book where I spotted the Martinican. I figured that the Martini & Rossi Bitter that I scored at a Martini vermouth class last Fall might work well here, and the combination sort of reminded me of a less bitter Right Hand. I was intrigued how the drink was named after the term for a person from Martinique, but it called for a Daiquiri rum (think classic Cuban) instead of a rhum agricole. Once prepared with a slightly funky, overproof local white rum, the Martinican welcomed the nose with an orange, grape, and chocolate bouquet. Next, the vermouth's grape on the sip led into rum, grape, and bitter chocolate on the swallow with a strawberry finish.

Monday, March 23, 2020


Two Mondays ago, I hosted a post-Speed Rack charity event at Silvertown in downtown Boston. The idea started when a few of my Angel's Envy crew were in town during the first week of February to observe me giving my first staff trainings and running my first events. Before one of my staff trainings, we were at Silvertone enjoying a round of Angel's Envy Rye while bouncing ideas off of each other for events. When the topic of Speed Rack came up, I mentioned that this spot is where I frequently found myself after working the event as a volunteer every year. One person proposed a fancy cocktail special idea, and I rebutted that this is Silvertone -- we need to drink like they drink here especially when it is busy: a beer and a shot. The idea came to be, and our afterparty raised money per boilermaker drank and raffle ticket sold; in the end, we donated over $200 to the Ellie Fund. After the long day of volunteering, hosting, and imbibing, it was almost 3 am when I got home and I was in no mood to make a cocktail for the blog, so I figured that I would later mull over the idea the boilermaker for a post.
A boilermaker is essentially a beer and a shot of spirit which is often whiskey. However, the "beer" could be a cider or even a wine, and the spirit can be anything from rum to Calvados. In traditional form, each is sipped as desired with the malt's (apple's or grape's) sweetness helping to cut the alcohol's burn. In college, we assumed that the shot was dropped into the glass, but to me, that is more of a Depth Charge than a boilermaker. The origins of the name related to the early-mid 19th century when the workmen who built and maintained boilers for ships, trains, and industry would order these side-by-side combos after a long day of labor. Wondrich even suggests that the idea  but not the name itself dates back to the 17th century in Europe. Noah Rothman in the DailyBeast pointed out the connection of whiskey starting as unhopped beer before distillation, and Wondrich noted that whisk(e)y cultures of Scotland and Ireland frequently drank them together as early as 1605. America might have lagged behind since a lot of our drinking culture was inherited from the British who were not big whiskey drinkers. In the modern day, like the boiler men, bartenders have latched on to the order; after a long shift, they might not have a lot of time until last call to get things done, and ordering this double is a rather non-fussy ordeal for the staff manning that industry bar.

Given that the craft cocktail bar movement has encouraged figuring out the best ingredients for a drink down to Audrey Saunders testing out every gin on her shelves to find the optimal recipe, the boilermaker has seen new light in the last decade. Some bars like the Automatic in Cambridge have boilermaker sections on the menu to guide their guests from basic to higher end and synergistic pairings at a wide range of price points. Others have taken it up another notch by making it into a competition; Erick Castro spoke of the "Big Baller, Shot Caller" event where bartenders provided judges with their favorite twosomes. Others still keep it on the humbler side. In my first trip to Louisville in 2016, I decided to only drink bonded Bourbons and frequently paired them with a local beer (unless I was in a cocktail bar or brewery taproom of course). My thought was that I would rather spent $13-15 on a whiskey and craft beer than spend that sum on a single whiskey order; since many bonded Bourbons and regional craft beers there do not leave Kentucky, it doubled my exposure to the state's nectars. Moreover, I have found myself ordering boilermakers on random Friday nights off when I decided to go to a friend's busy bar for it did not take much of their time to get both pours in front of me, and I have found it a great choice on slower nights at random bars not known for their cocktails.

The Angel's Envy website has a section on Angels and Ales, their name for the pairing. In one post on their blog, they discussed their favorite pairings with their Bourbon finished in port casks. For pilsners and lagers, the clean, crisp aspect brings out vanilla sweetness, port notes, and a caramel finish. For IPAs, there is a lot more variety in the results given the citrus, grassy, and other aspects of the hops; moreover, I have found that certain IPAs like Bell's Two Hearted have a great amber malt backbone that synergizes with the charred oak aging of said whiskey. And finally, they mention porters with their chocolate and coffee notes that bring out honey sweetness and a warm finish from the Bourbon. Those three are only the beginning, for I have found great results in Belgian-style beers like Fat Tire, and classic Americana ones like Anchor Steam due to that amber malt character I mentioned with the Bell's.
David Wondrich has spoken about the problem with beer sizes to match a two ounce or so pour of spirit. He finds that a pint is too large, and many bars will not veer from charging the full price even if they give him half. He also knows himself well enough that if he is given a full pint, he will drink it. Some bars like Lily P's pictured above do half pours for the same volumetric pricing as the full pour; I find it unfortunate when bars gouge the half pour pricing to almost discourage it. Almost every place that I have worked did not have half-sized pricing, but given that most POS systems have an "open beer" button, I could get it done with some first or second grade math. Wondrich is also a big proponent of the beer being a draft beer for a boilermaker; however, there are a few beers like Miller High Life that come in 7 ounce pony bottles that are the perfect sized accompaniment to a whiskey dram. Otherwise, the only way to best utilize a twelve or sixteen ounce bottle or can is to ask for two glasses to share with a friend. And at home, I lack a kegerator, so all my pairings are from packaged goods.

As I mentioned above, beer and whiskey are not the only options. My favorite boilermaker of 2017 was experienced at the end of Tales of the Cocktail at a small gathering hosted by Haus Alpenz's Jake Parrott. There, I was sipping on a 2006 I Clivi wine called Galea where its citrus, almond, and mineral notes worked rather stunning with a copita of Del Maguey Tobala that Misty Kalkofen brought to the soirée and poured me half way through my glass. I wrote, "It was magical, and I'm not even a big wine drinker." Given that a bar tab for that duo would be in the range of $40, it is not an every day occurrence to pamper myself like that. Magic can be found at half that, and just plain comfort at about a third.

Sunday, March 22, 2020


1 jigger Jamaican Rum (1 oz Appleton Signature + 1/2 oz Smith & Cross)
Juice 1/2 Lime (1/2 oz)
2 dash Grenadine (1/2 oz)
1 piece Orange Peel (2 1/2 x 1 inch)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass; I added an orange twist.
Two Sundays ago, I reached for my wood-covered 1939 Just Cocktails by W.C. Whitfield. There, I spotted the Saxon that appeared like a Jamaican rum version of a Bacardi Cocktail with the addition of an orange peel in the shake. The orange peel shake was something that frequently showed up in books like Hugo Ensslin's 1916 Recipes for Mixed Drinks such as the Deshler and Temptation, and it donates a bright orange bitters-like note to drinks. Once prepared, the Saxon greeted the senses with a caramel, rum funk, and orange oil aroma. Next, berry and lime swirled on the sip, and the swallow proffered funky rum and pomegranate flavors with an orange peel finish.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

louisiana purchase

2 oz Cognac (Camus VS)
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Honey Syrup

Shake with ice and strain into a double old fashioned glass with ice (cocktail coupe without ice); I added a lemon twist.

Two Saturday nights ago, I ventured into Michael Madrusan and Zara Young's 2017 A Spot at the Bar. In the section that listed the Gold Rush, the modern classic created at Milk & Honey and based off of the Bee's Knees, were two variations: the apple brandy-based Golden Delicious and the Cognac-based Louisiana Purchase. Since the former riff was delightful when I made it two years ago, I decided to try the latter. I was able to track down a reference that the drink appeared on the 2009 opening "cocktail hour" menu at the Griffin that featured "specialty cocktails brought to you by the talent behind iconic New York cocktail bars, Milk & Honey and Little Branch."
While the Louisiana Purchase is usually served on the rocks, I felt that it was not going to last long enough to necessitate that. In the glass, it sold a lemon, Cognac, and honey-floral bouquet to the nose. Next, a lemon sip handed over Cognac and honey on the swallow with a tart lemon and floral finish.

Friday, March 20, 2020


1/2 Whiskey (1 1/2 oz Sazerac Rye)
1/2 Italian Vermouth (1 1/2 oz Cocchi Sweet)
3 dash Amer Picon (1/4 oz)
1 dash Orange Bitters (Angostura Orange)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass; I added a cherry as a garnish.

One of the Amer Picon drinks I have frequently cited in this blog is the Liberal Cocktail, but I cannot link to it since it predates my writing for this blog (while still in my LiveJournal days). I made it in Fall 2007 after reading about it in Paul Clarke's Cocktail Chronicles, and the simplicity and elegance of this Manhattan variation still rather shines. I was able to trace back the original to 1895 in George Kappeler's Modern American Drinks; however, that version eschewed the sweet vermouth and was equal parts whiskey and Picon with a dash of syrup. The recipe in A.S. Crockett's 1935 The Old Waldorf Astoria Bar Book was one of the earliest that I found that included the sweet vermouth aspect as well as toning down the Picon content.
The Liberal met the nose with a dark orange and rye nose. Next, grape and a hint of caramel on the sip opened up to rye and vermouth flavors leading into bitter orange on the swallow with a dry quinine-tinged finish.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

:: life paths usually aren't straight lines ::

Submitted to the USBG National blog, but published here first due to the timely nature of things.

I remember one summer in between semesters at college, I returned home and began to look for work. I had sent out a handful of letters during spring break to apply to jobs in my field, but all of those fell through. My mom sat down with me to look at the help wanted section of the newspaper, and when she spotted an ad for a bartender position, she told me that I ought to apply. She explained that it was a good skill to have and a role that is always needed. The job was at a place called Helwig's in Milford, Connecticut, and I am surprised that my ever cautious mom would suggest that I apply there. I recall when my brother and I wanted to see a band at the Anthrax Club in Norwalk, my mom called that city's police's youth bureau to see what sort of place it was. Of course, they had nothing good to say and we were forbidden to attend the Dag Nasty show. When I argued that I did not know a thing about bartending, my mom explained that it was easy -- a Screwdriver was vodka and orange juice, a Rum & Coke was as simple as it sounded along with a Gin & Tonic. That is where she trailed off with her drink knowledge. I did go and apply in person, and the Helwig's daytime staff was rather kind in helping me fill out the application which was nothing more than a blank sheet of paper. Needless to say it was not a successful venture given that I was 19 almost 20, only there for the summer, and rather lacking in experience. Perhaps not lacking completely, for I was able to go back to my old summer job of being a camp counselor. Keeping a pack of kids in line has been a parallel situation to some bar gigs that I have held down.

With this current virus pandemic situation, I was reminded of what my mom said; however, the job of a bartender as we know it has gone away in my state of Massachusetts with the closure of all restaurants and bars save for ones doing pickup and delivery menus (which still excludes alcohol here). There is no certainty when the restaurant industry will be allowed to reopen and at what rate there will be enough jobs at the surviving establishments to allow for everyone to return back to work. It will recover and it will get better, but I have a feeling it will be at a much reduced level at first. But just like the rosebush in my front patch that I prune back every Spring, it is overgrowing its spot and attacking our front steps and porch by Fall.

During one bar shift two years ago, I listed off to one of my co-workers all of the random jobs that I have held in my life. Some of these were careers, others side gigs, and some were one-offs. This list included biochemist, wedding and band promo photographer, DJ, cabaret performer in nightclubs, dog walker, inventory taker, babysitter, writer, Tae Kwon Do instructor, airsoft and jiu-jitsu ref, and a host of other gigs and professions. Even my main career path has changed over the decades. I left for college to become a veterinarian, but I ended up getting into biology research and going to grad school for it. I pursued a career in academics, but after my post-doc was not going to score me a professor job (and I did not want to do another 3 year post-doc to try again), I began investigating new options. I considered teaching and started working at my friend's company that did after-school science classes at elementary schools. Eventually, I ended up in biotech which paid the bills but never really had me happy or comfortable about work. A few years later, I began writing about cocktails on an online journal that led into writing for the Cocktail Virgin blog. That went many years until my last biotech job ended with the final day of 2011. After that ended, I began to consider bar jobs somewhat but mostly stuck to applying to find another biotech position. A few months in, a friend's mom suggested that I write a book given all of my work on the blog. Life had some purpose and I set to work figuring out how to make it come about. By September that year, my first book Drink & Tell: A Boston Cocktail Book was released, and my life began to change. I soon had offers to give talks at Portland Cocktail Week and Barbara Lynch's Stir class; and then one day, I was asked to do a guest shift at an industry series.

After that amazing experience, I turned to my wife and said “I ought to do this as a career.” She surprised me by replying, “You should.” “But I'll never get to see you.” “Don't worry -- we'll figure it out.” With that, I found someone willing to hire me as a 41 year old bar back, and I worked my way up to bartender in a few months. I knew the mechanics of drink making, but I needed to learn how to work in a restaurant and deal with guests in that setting.

Last Fall, I was approached to work with a great brand, and I accepted the gig since it matched my love of American whiskey. I was still bartending up until the beginning of February when I decided to leave due to a change in management. For the last two months or so, I have been focusing on the brand work and I was rather enjoying it. Well, up until all of my accounts closed their doors due to this crisis. Actually, I still enjoy it, and my team has been a great source of psychological and emotional support; however, I am without structure in my day. I am working on building back that structure. As I will also figure out how to build back a way to make a living in case this brand gig does not come back soon or at all.

As the USBG Boston secretary, I just sent off a missive to my chapter with advice and with things better stated as suggestions at looking at the world. In terms of structure, I wrote, “The more difficult part is the psychological. We're all facing different challenges, so I will cover mine. I'm finding my days without structure and I find myself glued to my phone looking for joy. Facebook, Instagram, the news feed, and the like have kept me connected, but I'm overdoing it in a depressed state as the two books that I started reading are by my side untouched. My first goal is setting up structure. For me, that includes morning writing with coffee. Cooking lunch and dinner from scratch. And finding scheduled social networking events. One that I have done all week is watch USBG-superstar Jonathan Pogash's Facebook Live cocktail segments every day at 1pm and 5pm. I'm not necessarily learning much but it feels good man. The other is Dani & Jackie's Cocktail Hour at 6pm and the nightcap edition at 11pm... One important point that Jackie brought up in the first session that I attended was that our value is not linked to our productivity (which could be nil right now due to our jobs) but linked to our worth.”

I also added, “A one off Facebook Live that I watched yesterday was by Jason Littrell, ex-Death & Co. and now cocktail consultant and varied other gigs. He focused on how to make a living by figuring out the gig economy to survive. We might have to look to adapt our skill sets to other industries such as by doing social media for other industries. There are plenty of companies out there who value native English speakers and need writers. Start opening up your mind and start looking around.”

As Jackie pointed out in one of the first cocktail hours that I sat in on, most of us are bartenders who are used to dealing with difficult situations and not just getting through but thriving. Our value is our skill set to adapt, to survive, to help, and to make others feel good in the process. There are no easy answers other than we are capable of making multiple turns in our job path throughout life. Some of them might be short term but others might be new directions. Embrace the opportunities that you find or that are floated your way.

giant squid attack

1 oz Dark Rum (Plantation Original Dark)
1 oz Cognac (Camus VS)
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Grapefruit Juice
1/2 oz Pedro Ximenez Sherry (Oxford 1970)
1/2 oz Don's Spices #2 (1/4 oz Vanilla Syrup + 1/4 oz Hamilton's Allspice Dram)
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1 dash Absinthe (20 drop St. George)

Whip shake with crushed ice, pour into a Tiki mug, fill with crushed ice, and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.
Two Thursdays, I was inspired by my bottle of Pedro Ximenez sherry to craft a Tiki drink. I decided on the Jet Pilot as a recipe skeleton and utilized the sherry and Don's Spices #2 (vanilla and allspice) for the original's falernum and cinnamon. Moreover, the sherry component gave me the idea to split the base spirit with brandy. Given its inkiness, I named this one the Giant Squid Attack. In the mug, the drink conjured a woody spice and raisin nose. Next, grape, lime, and grapefruit notes swam through the sip, and the swallow grabbed on to the palate with dark rum, Cognac, raisin, allspice, and vanilla flavors.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

[lomasney's own]

2 oz Angel's Envy Bourbon
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/4 oz Quinta Infatada Ruby Port
1/4 oz Grenadine
1/4 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao
1 Egg White

Shake once without ice and once with, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with a spritz of Angostura Bitters and an orange twist.

Two Wednesdays ago, I ventured down to Backbar where I found a seat in front of bartender Kat Lamp. Given that I now work for Angel's Envy, I began to scheme with her on what drinks she could create. Kat was in the mood for an egg white Sour to try out the bitters mister I donated to the bar, and I wondered if the Ward 8 might make a good skeleton to tinker with. I proposed splitting the grenadine with ruby port to bolster the port finish on the Bourbon, and Kat suggested subbing dry curaçao in place of the original's orange juice. The combination then reminded me of the rye-port egg white Sour called the Elk's Own, so I dubbed this one the Lomasney's Own after the Ward 8 politician Martin Lomasney.
The Lomasney's Own proffered an orange, allspice, and clove bouquet to the nose. Next, a creamy lemon, port wine, and berry sip voted in a Bourbon, orange, and pomegranate swallow.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

sel del la mer

1 1/4 oz Cognac (Courvoisier VS)
1 1/2 oz Manzanilla Sherry (Lustau Fino)
1/4 oz Green Chartreuse
1/4 oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
1 dash Celery Bitters (Housemade)

Build in a double old fashioned glass, add a large ice cube, and stir to mix and chill. Garnish with a pinch of salt.
Two Tuesdays ago, I spotted a Misty Kalkofen sherry recipe on Kindred Cocktails that she posted herself called the Sel del la Mer with the subtitle, "Drink and remember your last beach vacation." The recipe also appeared in a Boston.com article in mid-2011 which would place its creation at the end of her tenure at Drink but before she left to open Brick & Mortar. Indeed, the combination of Cognac, Green Chartreuse, and Maraschino reminded me of the Brandy Scaffa that Misty put on the A-to-Z menu at Green Street, and it also made me think of Death & Co.'s Julien Sorel. In the glass, the Sel de la Mer welcomed the nose with Cognac and crisp sherry aromas. Next, dry white wine on the sip receded into Cognac and nutty-herbal flavors on the swallow with a celery finish. As the salt began to enter into the equation, the swallow's profile smoothed out into a more gentle feel.

Monday, March 16, 2020

planet of the apes

1 oz Dark Jamaican Rum (Coruba)
1/2 oz Amber 151 Proof Rum (Don Q)
3/4 oz Crème de Banana (Giffard)
1 oz Orange Juice
1 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Lime Juice

Whip shake with crushed ice, pour into a tall glass (Tiki mug), and fill with crushed ice. Garnish with a banana slice-cherry pick and a purple orchid (omit the orchid).
Two Mondays ago, Andrea requested a Tiki drink, so I looked to Beachbum Berry's Remixed for an answer. There, I spotted the Planet of the Apes that seemed to follow up the Chimp in Orbit from a couple of nights ago quite well, and Berry explained that it "evolved from a mid-century Caribbean Cooler called the West Indian Punch." Once prepared, the Planet of the Apes conjured up banana and cherry aromas from the garnish. Next, lime and orange notes on the sip evolved into funky rum, pineapple, and banana flavors on the swallow.

Sunday, March 15, 2020


1/2 Brandy (1 1/2 oz Camus VS Cognac)
1/4 Italian Vermouth (3/4 oz Cocchi Sweet Vermouth)
1/4 French Vermouth (3/4 oz Noilly Prat Dry)
3 dash Curaçao (1/4 oz Pierre Ferrand)
1 dash Absinthe (1/2 bsp Kübler)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass; I added an orange twist.
Two Sundays ago, I selected the 1930 Savoy Cocktail Book to stick with the weekend's 1930s drink theme. There, I opted for the Whip which was reminiscent of the Metropole, Sacre Bleu, and Eye Opener. Once prepared, the Whip met the nose with a Cognac aroma plus orange notes from the curaçao and twist garnish. Next, a grape-driven sip led into a Cognac, herbal, and orange swallow with a lightly anise finish.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

daiquiri special

2/3 Daiquiri Rum (1 1/2 oz Santa Teresa Claro)
1/3 Gin (3/4 oz Barr Hill)
Juice 1/2 Lime (1/2 oz)
1 tsp Grenadine (1/2 oz)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
Two Saturdays ago, I ventured into the 1937 Café Royal Cocktail Book and spotted the Daiquiri Special. The recipe was akin to a Bacardi Cocktail with the addition of gin and no specification as to the rum brand. For the rum, I reached for the new addition to the collection of Santa Teresa Claro that I purchased on sale a few days before, and for a complementary gin, I figured that Barr Hill's juniper and honey notes would work rather well. Once prepared, the Daiquiri Special met the nose with a lime, honey, and pine bouquet. Next, lime and berry notes on the sip gave way to rum, juniper, and pomegranate flavors on the swallow. Overall, this was a simple yet pleasing Daiquiri variation given my spirit choices.

Friday, March 13, 2020

the pinball racket

1 1/2 oz Rye Whiskey (Rittenhouse)
1/2 oz Mezcal (Fidencio)
1/2 oz Campari
1/2 oz Cynar
2 dash Mole Bitters (Bittermens)

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

Two Fridays ago, I was inspired by the rye-mezcal drink that I had in New York City as well as others like the Racketeer. I began tinkering, and after a few iterations over the course of two nights, I picked my favorite (see the first version below). The combination might still need a little work, but it was rather drinkable. For a name, I was inspired by the Racketeer which reminded me of something I found in my town's library's historic room: a folder on the Pinball Racket. This Winter Hill Gang ploy was to go into establishments and strong-arm offer to put a cigarette, candy, jukebox, or pinball machine in; moreover, they told the store and restaurant owners not to worry about its upkeep or finances. I learned a lot more about organized crime than I did about my intended goal, namely the rum distillery that existed in Somerville, MA, up until Prohibition.
The Pinball Racket donated a bitter orange, smoke, and caramel aroma to the nose. Next, malt and caramel on the sip slid into rye, smoke, vegetal notes, and bitter orange flavors on the swallow with a chocolate finish.
The Pinball Racket (Version 1)
• 1 1/2 oz Rye Whiskey
• 1/2 oz Mezcal
• 3/4 oz Campari
• 1/4 oz Maraschino Liqueur
• 2 dash Mole Bitters
Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with a cherry.

Post note 6/1/20: A few people wrote down the first iteration of this recipe before I changed it on Instagram a day later, and they rather enjoy it. So I figured that I would include my first experiment. I am much happier with the second or Cynar version of the Pinball Racket though, but your mileage may vary.

Thursday, March 12, 2020


2/3 Rye (1 1/2 oz Old Overholt)
1/3 Italian Vermouth (3/4 oz Cocchi Sweet)
1 dash Crème de Menthe (1/4 oz Tempus Fugit)
1 dash Picon Bitters (1/4 oz Torani Amer)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
Two Thursdays ago, I selected Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 and spotted the Memphis in the American whiskey section. The Memphis appeared like a Liberal with the rye, vermouth, and Picon combination but with an added element of crème de menthe. Once prepared, the liqueurs' mint and orange aromas greeted the senses. Next, malt and grape on the sip led into rye, mint, and bitter orange on the swallow. Overall, perhaps a bit more Picon and less menthe would have made for a more enjoyable tipple for me.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

chimp in orbit

1 1/2 oz Gold Puerto Rican Rum (Flor de Caña Añejo Oro)
1 oz Sweet Vermouth
1/2 oz Curaçao (Pierre Ferrand)
1/2 oz Crème de Cacao (Tempus Fugit)
3 oz Lemon Juice
3 oz Orange Juice
1/2 oz Grenadine

Whip shake with crushed ice, pour into a bamboo Tiki mug, and fill with crushed ice. Garnish with a lime shell (lemon shell) with overproof rum (El Dorado 151) and ignite.

Two Wednesdays, I was in a tropical mood, so I turned to the Tiki Triangle book that I had just finished on my train ride back from New York City. I was lured in by the Chimp in Orbit recipe that had been sourced from Beachbum Berry's 10th Anniversary Sippin' Safari, for it reminded me of a Floridita from Cuba given the sweet vermouth, crème de cacao, grenadine, and lime, as well as Trader Vic's Tortuga which also included the curaçao and orange juice to that combination. The drink was originally created in the 1960s and named after the 1961 chimp named Ham that went into outer space during NASA's Project Mercury.

The Chimp in Orbit launched to the nose with an orange and chocolate bouquet. Next, lemon, orange, and grape on the sip transitioned to rum, chocolate, and orange peel notes on the swallow. Overall, it was much more juice- and less rum-driven than the Tortuga.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

the bedford nest

3/4 oz Bourbon (Old Grand Dad Bonded)
3/4 oz Aged Rum (Barbancourt 8 Year)
1 oz Dry Vermouth (Noilly Prat)
1/4 oz Benedictine
1/4 oz Apricot Liqueur (Rothman & Winter)
2 dash Peychaud's Bitters

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

The night that I returned home from my New York City trip, I wanted a cocktail but did not have the energy to search through a few books until I found one that fit my mood and that I had not made before. Therefore, I began scheming and made a hybrid of a Brooklyn, Creole, and 1919. My time in New York City brought me to places that looked like speakeasies or were actually illegal drinking dens during Prohibition; indeed, my final moments before leaving to the train station were spent in a bar room up service stairs through an unmarked doorway. Taking the Brooklyn aspect from my first recipe idea direction, I dubbed this one the Bedford Nest after one of that borough's most infamous speakeasies during the 1920s.
The Bedford Nest snuck in with an orange, Bourbon, and apricot nose. Next, hints of caramel and orchard fruit plotted on the sip, and the swallow gave out whiskey, rum, herbal, and apricot flavors on the swallow with a cherry and anise finish.

Monday, March 9, 2020

3am on saint mark's place

1 oz Don Q Añejo Rum
1 oz Ilegal Mezcal
1/4 oz Maple Syrup
1 dash Bittermens Mole Bitters

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

My adventures on Monday two weeks ago found me with a small window of time between my midday activities and an early evening seminar on sustainability at Pouring Ribbons in the East Village. Therefore, I headed down to the Village and began with a pair of beers at McSorley's (they will not sell odd numbers of beers and only have two offerings: dark and light lager). McSorley's has been open since 1843 with lots of history on the walls, ceilings, and lamp fixtures, and it was where my dad used to go when he attended Cooper Union in the early 1960s. With the other half of my spare time, I made my way over to the Holiday Cocktail Lounge on St. Mark's Place. There, I asked bartender Talia for the 3am on Saint Mark's Place that was subtitled, "AKA what to do when the animals escape the zoo. You have to get them back in the cage, it was your fault, and you left the damn thing open. Realistically, you have 2 options: chase them all, or entice with treats. As a helpful hint, we always prefer treats!"
The 3am on Saint Mark's Place greeted the senses with orange oil and a hint of smoke. Next, maple and caramel swirled on the sip, and the swallow shared rum, smoky vegetal, and chocolate flavors. Overall, a rather solid Old Fashioned riff.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

[battle annie]

1 1/2 oz Angel's Envy Bourbon
1/2 oz Banhez Mezcal
3/4 oz Amaro Montenegro
1/4 oz Cinnamon Syrup
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a double old fashioned glass with a large ice cube, and garnish with an orange twist.

Two Sundays ago, I traveled to New York City for the Angel's Envy Whiskey Guardian northeast team gathering. After our first round of meetings, a few of us went off to the Park Hyatt Hotel where we found a seat in front of Fabio Steven Gonzalez who the head Whiskey Guardian referred to as "The Professor." There, I requested a stirred drink from Steven using our whiskey, and when I saw him grab the mezcal bottle second, I knew I was in for a treat; the combination of American whiskey and mezcal is one that has worked well in recipes like the Devil's Soul, Sforzando, and Racketeer. Here, Montenegro, cinnamon, and bitters rounded out this drink that Steven did not have a name for. Therefore, I later dubbed this the Battle Annie due to the hotel's proximity to the old gangland Hell's Kitchen neighborhood in Manhattan. Battle Annie was Annie Walsh, a member of the notorious Gopher Gang during the late 19th century who the press described as "the Queen of Hell's Kitchen" and "the most feared brick hurler of her time." The large cube of ice in the drink seemed to align with the brick theme; however, the only throwing was throwing this drink back.
The Battle Annie tossed an orange and citrus-laden aroma in the direction of my nose. Next, a sip full of mandarine and other citrus notes led into whiskey and smoke flavors on the swallow with a cinnamon finish.

Saturday, March 7, 2020


1/3 Gordon's Gin (1 oz Beefeater)
1/3 Calvados or Applejack Brandy (1 oz Laird's Bonded)
1/3 Passion Fruit Juice (1 oz Passion Fruit Nectar)
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
Two Saturdays ago, I ventured into the 1937 Café Royal Cocktail Book and spotted the Jinx. This recipe crafted by W.E. Edwards shared some similarity to the Avenue from that book but with gin and Angostura Bitters here instead of Bourbon, grenadine, and orange blossom water. Once prepared, the Jinx greeted the nose with apple and tropical aromas. Next, a dry melon and peach sip led into gin, apple, passion fruit, and clove notes on the swallow. Overall, the combination of apple brandy and passion fruit made for a delightful synergy of flavors. Depending on the sweetness of your particular passion fruit nectar, a barspoon of simple syrup may help the balance a touch, and I recommend staying on the lighter side of a bitters dash for the Angostura can easily overpower the delicate flavors here.

Friday, March 6, 2020

martin casa

2 oz Jamaican Rum (1 oz Appleton Signature + 1 oz Smith & Cross)
1/2 oz Cointreau
1/2 oz Apricot Brandy (Rothman & Winter)
Juice 1/2 Lime (1/2 oz)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Another drink that I had spotted the night before in Ted Saucier's Bottoms Up was the Martin Casa created at the Café Martin in Montreal. The recipe was essentially the Jamaican rum version of the obscure Cuban drink the Periodista with white rum from the 1948 El Arte de Cantinera. I had previously skipped over this recipe for it was too close to the dark rum way that Boston adopted the Periodista and spread across town starting in the late 1990s. However, with the addition of some Jamaican rum funk, I was pretty sure that the drink could be elevated over the dark rums selected in town such as Gosling's.
The Martin Casa met the senses with a rum funk and apricot bouquet. Next, lime and orange notes on the sip slid into funky rum and orange-apricot flavors that came across in a passion fruit sort of way. Here, the rum funk elevated the drink in a similar way to Todd Maul's cachaça-based Periodista at Clio.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

union league club special

1 1/2 oz Rye or Bourbon (Old Overholt Rye)
1/2 oz Jamaican Rum (1/4 oz Coruba + 1/4 oz Smith & Cross)
1/2 oz Curaçao (Pierre Ferrand)
1/2 oz Orange Juice
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 tsp Sugar

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass; I added an orange twist.
Thursday two weeks ago, I reached for my 1962 edition of Ted Saucier's 1954 Bottoms Up book and discovered the Union League Club special; the recipe was created at that Manhattan club that is still open on 37th and Park. Overall, the feel reminded me of Harry Johnson's Fedora minus the brandy but with the inclusion of orange juice akin to a Ward 8. Once prepared, the Union League Club Special met the nose with an orange and rum funk aroma. Next, lemon and orange notes mingled on the sip, and the swallow showcased rye flavors along with rum funk melding into orange peel.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

the elephant in the room

3/4 oz Scotch (Cutty Sark Prohibition)
3/4 oz Smith & Cross Rum
3/4 oz Aperol
1/2 oz Cynar
1/4 oz Maraschino (Luxardo)

Stir with ice, strain into a double old fashioned glass with a large ice cube, and garnish with an orange twist.

Two Wednesday ago, I had some ideas about a stirred drink that I wanted to try. While I was influenced by the Knife to a Gun Fight when I was considering a Sfumato/Zucca direction, I ended up latching on to its Aperol. With that, I made a hybrid of the Prospect Park, one of my favorite Manhattan riffs created in Boston, with the Negroni that Wasn't that I had earlier in the week. Between the political debates being that night as well as the Smith & Cross in the mix, I dubbed this one the Elephant in the Room.
The Elephant in the Room stomped in with an orange and smoky aroma. Next, orange notes with a hint of cherry on the sip trumpeted in smoke, funk, char, and bitter cherry flavors on the swallow with a chocolate finish.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

cuban prince

2 oz White Rum (Privateer Silver)
1 oz Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth
1/3 oz Tempus Fugit Crème de Menthe
1 dash Regan's Orange Bitters (Angostura Orange)

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

Two Tuesdays ago, I reached for Frank Caiafa's 2016 The Old Waldorf Astoria Bar Book and spotted the recipe for the Prince Henry. That gin drink was a tribute to Germany's Prince Henry who stayed at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in 1902; however, I was drawn to the rum riff that followed that recipe called the Cuban Prince. The drink reminded me of the Georgetown Club Cocktail, but instead of falernum, the Cuban Prince called for crème de menthe and orange bitters.
The Cuban Prince evoked a lemon, white rum, and mint nose. Next, an off-dry white wine sip conjured a rum, minty, and herbal swallow with an orange finish.

Monday, March 2, 2020

psycho killer

2 oz Redbreast 12 Year Irish Whiskey (Teeling Small Batch)
3/4 oz Campari
1/2 oz Giffard Banane du Bresil
1/2 oz White Crème de Cacao (Bols)
2 dash Absinthe (1/16 oz Kübler)

Stir with ice and strain into a Nick & Nora glass (cocktail coupe).
Two Mondays ago, I was perusing my new purchase of The Dead Rabbit: Mixology & Mayhem book, and I spotted the Psycho Killer. The recipe was created by Jillian Vose as her Irish whiskey variation on a Boulevardier. Once prepared, the Psycho Killer attacked with a chocolate, anise, and orange aroma. Next, sweet banana on the sip leapt into Irish whiskey notes and banana melding into bitter orange on the swallow with a chocolate and anise finish. As the drink warmed up, the balance got a bit sweet for my palate, so perhaps serving it on the rocks to cut the sugar over time and to keep things cold might help.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

sloe loris

1 oz Sloe Gin (Averell Damson)
1 oz Fino or Manzanilla Sherry (Lustau Fino)
3/4 oz Swedish Punsch (Kronan)
1/4 oz Cynar

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

Two Sundays ago, I spotted a curious drink on Kindred Cocktails called the Sloe Loris by Leslie Craven, a home bartender in New Zealand. This circa 2015 tribute to the arboreal primate utilized the sloe gin-Swedish punsch combination that worked well in the 1930s Mabel Berra and the 2011 Ticket to Paradise. Moreover, it had the excellent duo of sloe gin and Cynar chosen by Phil Ward in the Lipspin and myself in Perverted by Language.
The Sloe Loris climbed to the nose with berry and rum funk aromas. Next, cherry, caramel, and crispness from the sherry summed up the sip, and the swallow delivered berry, rum, and bitter herbal flavors with a tea tannin finish.