Thursday, April 30, 2020


1 oz Laird's Bonded Apple Brandy
1 oz Old Overholt Bonded (1 1/4 oz Old Overholt 80°)
1/4 oz Benedictine (1/2 oz) (see text))
2 dash Angostura Bitters

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 drink that I had spotted in bartender Timothy Miner's Instagram called the Trans-Am. When questioned, he mentioned that the recipe was an American Trilogy with Benedictine and Angostura instead of maple syrup and orange bitters. My recipe search uncovered that the American Trilogy has 1/2 oz maple (2 parts maple:1 part water), so I went with that volume of liqueur; after I made it, I was later corrected that the Trans-Am has 1/4 oz Benedictine, but 1/2 oz worked well to my palate akin to Death & Co.'s Shruff's End. Three days later, I did get around to making the American Trilogy, but I was in a Benedictine mood so I went with the riff first. And that riff was crafted by bartender Dave Nurmi at the Rockwell Place in Brookyln.
The Trans-Am revved up the nose with orange oil and rye-herbal aromas. Next, a caramel sip led into rye, apple, and minty-herbal flavors with an allspice and clove finish.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

orchid thief

1 1/2 oz Fino Sherry (Lustau)
1 oz Dry Vermouth (Noilly Prat)
1/2 oz Benedictine

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with a lemon twist.
Two Wednesdays ago, I decided to make a recipe from PunchDrink called the Orchid Thief that was created by Chip Tyndale of Dutch Kills and the Flatiron Lounge at the time. The drink was his cross of a Bamboo and a Chrysanthemum, and I was curious as to how it would play out without the latter's absinthe accent. Once prepared, the Orchid Thief began with a lemon, herbal, and savory aroma. Next, a semi-sweet white wine sip stole away with a savory sherry and herbal swallow with a hint of chocolate on the finish.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

the third oath

2 1/2 oz Plantation OFTD Rum
1 1/2 oz Cinnamon Syrup
1/2 oz Falernum (Velvet)
1 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Grapefruit Juice
2 dash Aromatic Bitters (Angostura)
1 dash Absinthe (20 drop St. George)

Shake with crushed ice, pour into a snifter glass (Tiki mug), and fill with crushed ice. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and a mint sprig (omit the mint).

Two Tuesdays ago, we were in a tropical mood, so I reached for the Minimalist Tiki book. There, I latched on to the Third Oath by Jason Alexander that seemed like a cinnamon-syrup forward Jet Pilot or 1934 Zombie (without the grenadine). I probably put this one off for a bit due to the three and six times larger amount of cinnamon syrup to those classics, respectively, but it seemed like a good time to try something edgy.
The Third Oath welcomed the nose with a cinnamon aroma that melded into funky rum notes. Next, caramel, grapefruit, and lime on the sip led into burly rum, cinnamon, and cherry flavors on the swallow with a mixed spice element on the finish. The cherry flavor is not something that I have noticed before in OFTD but one that is apparent in my Lemon Hart 151; perhaps it came out due to the interaction with the cinnamon. Overall, the big rum presence balanced the cinnamon syrup rather elegantly instead of coming across like a mouthful of Fireball (then again, I am using a syrup derived from cinnamon sticks and not chemicals like the flavored whiskey).

Monday, April 27, 2020

fair fight

1 oz Laird's Bonded Apple Brandy
1 oz Pimm's No. 1
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
1/4 oz Demerara Syrup
2 dash Peychaud's Bitters

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

While looking up the Bentley Cocktail, I rediscovered Colin Shearn's riff Always Crashing the Same Car. I became curious as to whether there were other Shearn recipes out there to be uncovered, and I found one called the Fair Fight that Shearn developed for the opening of the El Camino in Louisville in the Anthropologie blog from 2013. The combination of Pimm's, lemon, and elderflower reminded me of the Hungry Like the Wolf but without the ginger beer component here.
The Fair Fight squared up with a lemon, apple, and red fruit bouquet. Next, lemon and red fruit continued on into the sip, and apple, grapefruit, berry, and floral flavors duked it out on the swallow with an anise finish.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

reverend mather

1 oz Higher Proof Rye Whiskey (Rittenhouse Rye)
1/2 oz Pineapple Rum (Plantation)
1 1/2 oz Rainwater Madeira (Blandy's Verdelho)
1/4 oz Green Chartreuse
3 dash Peychaud's Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a double old fashioned glass with a large ice cube, and garnish with a lemon twist. Brian recommends a rye over 80° here.
Two Sundays ago, I decided to make one of the recipes that Brian Maxwell has been posting daily on his Shaker of Spirits blog called the Reverend Mather. This Manhattan riff was created in tribute to one of the leaders of the Salem Witch Trials and the early Temperance (moderation not Prohibition) movement. Once prepared, the Reverend Mather offered up a lemon and rye aroma with a sweeter note perhaps from the pineapple in the rum. Next, caramel and grape conspired on the sip, and the swallow proclaimed rye, rum, grape, and pineapple-herbal flavors.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

nail in the coffin

1 1/2 oz Yamazaki 12 Year Single Malt (Kavalan Classic)
3/4 oz Rainwater Madeira (Blandy's 5 Year Verdelho)
1/2 oz Licor 43 or Other Vanilla Liqueur (Licor 43)
1/4 oz Fernet Branca

Stir with ice, strain into a Nick & Nora glass, and garnish with grated black cardamom.
Two Saturdays ago, I returned to Daniel Yaffee's Drink More Whiskey book and decided on the Nail in the Coffin by Brian Means from San Francisco. This Rusty Nail riff was unique for it did not call for Drambuie as one of the ingredients as others like the Tooth and Nail and Bitter Nail had; instead, it utilized a trio of Madeira, Licor 43, and Fernet as the modifiers. While I lacked a Japanese whisky in my collection, I figured that a Taiwanese single malt was a good substitute in a quarantine situation. Once stirred and strained, the Nail in the Coffin proffered a cardamom, vanilla, and herbal nose. Next, malt and grape swirled on the sip, and the swallow gave forth whisky, vanilla, gentian, and menthol flavors that rather kept the Fernet Branca in check.

Friday, April 24, 2020

pieces of eight

1 1/2 oz Puerto Rican Rum (2 oz Flor de Caña Añejo Oro)
1 1/2 oz Passion Fruit Syrup
1 1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Lime Juice

Blend 5 seconds with 4 oz crushed ice (7 oz cracked ice), pour into a tall glass (Tiki mug), and top with crushed ice. Here, I garnished with 8 pieces of grilled pineapple and 2 pineapple leaves.
Two Fridays ago, I decided to make use of the pineapple that I had bought at the local market to finally make the Pieces of Eight from Jeff Berry's Remixed book. This circa 1962 Tiki drink created at the Pieces of Eight restaurant in Marina del Rey, California, was akin to a Hurricane with a lighter style of rum and with the inclusion of lime juice to the mix. Once whipped up, the Pieces of Eight opened up with a passion fruit and charred pineapple bouquet. Next, lemon and lime notes on the sip sailed into rum and passion fruit on the swallow with a lemony finish.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

broken branch

1 1/2 oz Bourbon (Wild Turkey 101)
1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth (Cocchi)
1/2 oz Maraschino (Luxardo)
1/2 oz Averna
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with an orange twist.
Two Thursdays ago, I was invited to join the Daily.Sip.Cocktail crew from Instagram to make a drink with them. For a recipe that I was sure that all four of us could assemble, I selected the Broken Branch by San Francisco's David Nepove from Daniel Yaffe's Drink More Whiskey book. This Bourbon Manhattan reminded me of the Brooklyn Brawler given the duo of Averna and Maraschino accenting a whiskey and vermouth base. Once assembled, the Broken Branch donated an orange and nutty cherry aroma. Next, caramel, grape, and cherry notes on the sip snapped into Bourbon and herbal flavors on the swallow with a nutty spice on the finish. Overall, the Broken Branch was very well rounded, and the other elements kept the Maraschino in check; moreover, it served as a good sipper even when it warmed up as the four of us chatted on the HouseParty app in our separate quarantined home bars and kitchens.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

fallen angel

30 mL Blanco Tequila (1 1/2 oz Lunazul)
25 mL Lemon Juice (3/4 oz)
15 mL Apricot Liqueur (1/2 oz Rothman & Winter)
5 mL Strega (1/4 oz)
1 bsp Agave Syrup (omit)

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

Two Wednesdays ago, I decided to make a recipe recommended to me by Jason Clampham after I enjoyed his Drones Club. The Fallen Angel was not his drink but one created at a bar in town, namely Raoul's in Oxford, by bartender Etienne Kechichian. I was drawn to this Tequila Daisy for it paired apricot and Strega liqueurs that worked well together in the White Birch Fizz and the Low Hanging Fruit, so I decided to give this recipe a go.
The Fallen Angel began with a lemon and agave aroma. Next, lemon and orchard fruit on the sip descended into tequila, apricot, licorice, and herbal flavors on the swallow.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

zombie lady

1/2 oz Demerara 151 Proof Rum (Lemon Hart)
1/2 oz Gold or Dark Jamaican Rum (Smith & Cross)
1/2 oz Gold Puerto Rican Rum (Don Q Extra Añejo Oro)
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Grapefruit Juice
1/4 oz Cinnamon Syrup
1/4 oz Falernum (Velvet)
1/4 oz Grenadine
1 Egg White

Shake once without ice and once with ice, strain into a rocks or coupe glass, and garnish with 5 drops of Herbstura (equal parts Herbsaint and Angostura Bitters).
Two Tuesdays ago, I pondered what the 1934 Zombie would be like as an egg white Sour. The direction I took was inspired by the 1930s White Lady so I dubbed the experiment the Zombie Lady. I removed the Zombie's Herbsaint and Angostura Bitters from the mix and utilized them as the garnish akin to how many use lemon or orange oil from a twist in the White Lady. Once built, the Zombie Lady lurched at the nose with anise, cinnamon, and clove aromas. Next a creamy lime, grapefruit, and berry sip attacked with a funky rum, cinnamon, and clove swallow. Overall, I was rather pleased with the end result.

Monday, April 20, 2020

golden age

2 oz Flor de Caña Gold Rum
1 oz Tio Pepe Fino Sherry (Lustau)
1 oz Cynar
1/2 oz Licor 43
3 dash Peychaud's Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a rocks glass, and garnish with a grapefruit twist.
Two Mondays ago, I selected the 2012 Northstar Cocktails and spotted the Golden Age from Pip Hanson. The recipe had been skipped over for years since I lacked Fino sherry in my collection until rather recently, and the combination with Cynar reminded me of my experiments the night before with the Exchange Place. Here, the additions to the equation were aged rum and the citrussy-vanilla Licor 43. Once prepared, the Golden Age proffered grapefruit, vanilla, and herbal aromas to the nose. Next, a caramel and white wine sip continued on into rum, funky herbal, vanilla, citrus, and savory flavors on the swallow. Overall, the combination felt like it needed a little work in the same way as my own drink the night before did.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

exchange place

1 1/4 oz Cynar
1 1/4 oz Fino Sherry (Lustau)
1/2 oz Cucumber Syrup (*)
2-3 dash Peychaud's Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into an absinthe-rinsed (Butterfly Absinthe) rocks glass, and garnish with lemon oil from a twist.
(*) I did an equal parts cucumber juice (muddled and strained cucumber chunks) to sugar. Perhaps a 2 parts juice to 1 part sugar or all cucumber juice ratio would appeal to people seeking drier drinks. Or reducing the 1:1 syrup to 1/4 oz.

A few hours before the kick off of the inaugural Sazerac Sunday on Zoom, I began thinking about the classic and how to riff on it. The idea of the Fino sherry-Cynar combination of Remember the Alimony popped into my head, and I wondered if I could make a low proof Sazerac-inspired number. From there, I pondered what cucumber would do in this combination especially how it behaved with Fino-Cynar in the Not a Melon and Peychaud's Bitters in the 3185.
The end result was intriguing but perhaps needed a touch of work especially on the sweetness end (and also a riper cucumber than the hothouse English one I purchased would help). For a name, I dubbed this one the Exchange Place after the side street where the Sazerac was served in the late 19th century. In the glass, the drink welcomed the nose with a lemon, anise, and licorice aroma. Next, a caramel-driven sip led into melon, celery, and anise flavors on the swallow.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

every victory

1 oz Buffalo Trace Bourbon (Old Grand-Dad Bonded)
1 oz Cardamaro
1 oz Aperol
2 dash Peychaud's Bitters

Build in an old fashioned glass, add a large ice cube, and stir (stir with ice and strain into an old fashioned glass with a large ice cube).
Two Saturdays ago, I ventured into the ShakeStir recipe database and found the Every Victory by John Myers of Portland, Maine. This 2015 riff on the Boulevardier was named after a William James quote, "Every victory leaves something drastic and bitter in the cup." Once prepared, the Every Victory donated a bitter herbal bouquet akin to wormwood that led into a grape and orange sip. Next, the Bourbon was joined by bitter herbal notes melding into a gentle rhubarb flavor on the swallow with an anise finish. True to the quote, the combination of amari left something bitter in the glass that I do not usually associate with either Cardamaro or Aperol alone.

Friday, April 17, 2020

dutch hand

3/4 oz Genever (Bols)
3/4 oz Batavia Arrack (van Oosten)
3/4 oz Sweet Vermouth (Cocchi)
3/4 oz Campari
3 dash Chocolate Mole Bitters (Bittermens)

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

Inspired by the Right Hand at Milk & Honey and riffs like the Tres Hands, I decided to create a Genever and Batavia Arrack variation that I dubbed the Dutch Hand. The Dutch besides distilling Genever are major importers of Batavia Arrack dating back to the Dutch East India Trading Company and now with rum merchants like E&A Scheer. Moreover, the combination of Genever and Batavia Arrack was one that worked well in Sahil Mehta's Double Dutch and Ricky Gomez's Weirding Way. While those two and the Genever Gimlet with Swedish punsch (containing Batavia Arrack) were all citrus drinks, I had faith that the duo would work well in this Negroni-Boulevardier style.
The Dutch Hand reached out with a malt, funky Batavia Arrack, and fruity orange nose. Next, grape and malt mingled on the sip, and the swallow offered up funky, herbal, and orange flavors with an chocolate and orange finish. Definitely quirky, but definitely complex and delicious to my palate.

Thursday, April 16, 2020


1 oz Bourbon (Old Grand-Dad Bonded)
1 oz Amontillado Sherry (Lustau)
1 oz Amaro Nardini
1 bsp Cointreau

Build in a double old fashioned glass with ice (stir with ice and strain into a double old fashioned glass with a large ice cube) and garnish with an orange twist.
Two Thursdays ago, I decided to make a drink that I spotted on Instagram on bartender Tommy Prieto's feed called the Javelin. The Javelin was created by Matt Clark of Dutch Kills in the Boulevardier vein with a name that reminded me of the Boomerang, and it began with an orange oil, nutty sherry, and caramel aroma. Next, the caramel continued on into the sip along with the sherry's grape, and the swallow rounded off the affair with Bourbon, nutty, orange, and bitter gentian flavors.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020


2/3 Dry Gin (1 3/4 oz Beefeater)
2 dash Grapefruit Juice (3/4 oz)
1 dash Maraschino Liqueur (1/4 oz Luxardo + 1 bsp Simple Syrup)
1 dash Orange Bitters (Angostura Orange)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass; I added a grapefruit twist.
Two Wednesdays ago, I ventured into the Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 book, and spotted the Augustine that appeared like a mintless Seventh Heaven. Once prepared, the Augustine donated a grapefruit and nutty cherry bouquet to the nose. Next, grapefruit and a hint of fruitiness on the sip led into gin and nutty cherry flavors on the swallow. Overall, the drink was pleasant, but it felt that it was lacking an element such as a dash of absinthe for depth.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

inherent vice

1 1/2 oz Rhum Agricole Blanc (Rhum Clement Premiere Canne)
3/4 oz Blanc Vermouth (Dolin)
1/2 oz Aperol
1/4 oz Campari
2 dash Grapefruit Bitters (Bittercube Jamaica #2)

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with a grapefruit twist.
Two Tuesdays ago, I decided to make an original recipe that I had spotted on Matt Robold's Rumdood blog. This agricole Negroni riff was entitled the Inherent Vice, and it began with a grapefruit and grassy aroma. Next, a citrussy white wine sip led into funky and grassy rhum notes melding into a bitter orange flavor on the swallow. Overall, quite delightful and I will gladly add it to the tapestry of other agricole Negroni riffs including the Pirate Slave, Defensio, Tarzan Boy, and Sleeping with Strangers.

Monday, April 13, 2020

hop, skip, and jump

1 1/2 oz Appleton Rum (Appleton Signature) (*)
1 oz Pineapple Gomme Syrup (3/4 oz Pineapple Syrup)
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1 tsp Becherovka (1/4 oz)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe.
(*) Beckaly listed the recipe as "Jamaican rum" but later clarified that she uses the less funky Appleton brand.

Two Mondays ago, I decided to make a drink that I had heard on Joseph Borosoki's Ask the Bartender podcast on the Daiquiri (episode #2). Joseph interviewed five bartenders, and the only recipe that veered from the rum-sugar-lime trio was the Hop, Skip, and Jump from Beckaly Franks of the Pontiac in Hong Kong. Beckaly commented that the Becherovka here makes the flavors in the pineapple syrup pop, and I noted that it was also her choice of flavor accent in the I Love You Like a Punch in the Head.
So after the Daiquiri Time Out happy hour on Zoom (more on the DTO phenomenon), I utilized my extra lime juice to make this Daiquiri variation. Things began with an aged rum, pineapple, and clove aroma that preceded a lime and pineapple sip. Next, rum, pineapple, clove, cinnamon, and ginger flavors followed through on the swallow.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

:: four roses small batch select ::

Last week, I received a package containing the new Four Roses product, Small Batch Select, as well as a sample of the regular Small Batch. Normally, I rather infrequently do spirits reviews on here, but I gave the go-ahead on this sample delivery since I figured that it would give us something to do during our time in quarantine. The Small Batch select is the first permanent addition to the Four Roses lineup since 2006, and it makes the fourth "rose" or permanent bottling option. The Select varies from the regular Small Batch by being at a higher proof (104° instead of 90°) and eschewing chill filtering. While both are mixes of 6 and 7 year old Bourbons and each contains the lower and higher rye mash bills (75/20/5 and 60/35/5), there was a difference in the yeast strains selected of the five: the Small Batch that I was sent opted for ones that produce robust fruitiness and slight spice character (yeast strains O and K, respectively), and the Select utilized delicate fruity flavor, light herbal essence, and the same slight spice character strains (yeast strains V, F, and K, respectively). I tasted these two samples against my bottle of Four Roses Yellow Label -- a circa 2019 80° bottling that is a mix of Bourbons that are around 5 years of age and generally consist of both mash bills and all five yeast strains (10 types in total although sometimes four yeast strains for 8 types in total). Not included in this tasting was their single barrel offering of a single mash bill-yeast strain combination generally aged longer and bottled at 100°. Here, I chose a Glencairn glass, did not add any water to the samples, and performed the tasting alongside Andrea, my wife and quarantine-mate.
Four Roses Yellow Label - circa 2019, 80 proof, chill filtered, around 5 years, 5 yeast strains-2 mash bills.
Nose: apple, pear, caramel, woody in a cedar way.
Taste: caramel, toffee, vanilla, clove, mint, allspice.
Four Roses Yellow Small Batch - 90 proof, chill filtered, a mix of 6 and 7 years, 2 yeast strains-2 mash bills.
Nose: maple, pear, softer wood notes akin to balsa.
Taste: Toffee, caramel, butterscotch, currant, mint, clove, cinnamon, vanilla on the finish.
Four Roses Yellow Small Batch Select - 104 proof, non-chill filtered, a mix of 6 and 7 years, 3 yeast strains-2 mash bills.
Nose: Caramel, raspberry, vanilla, wood in a pine and cedar way.
Taste: Caramel, toffee, melony soft fruits like pear and apricot, vanilla, mint, clove, allspice.

Overall, the Small Batch Select had more in common with the Yellow Label's flavor profile than the regular Small Batch did; however, it had an extra level of age (caramel richness and vanilla presence) and finesse over Four Roses' entry level product. While Andrea picked the Small Batch as her favorite, I leaned towards the Small Batch Select as the winner here.

tabu tabu grog

2 oz Plantation OFTD Overproof Rum
3/4 oz Lime Juice
3/4 oz Grapefruit Juice
1/2 oz Passion Fruit Puree (Passion Fruit Syrup)
1/2 oz Honey Syrup 1:1
1/4 oz Allspice Dram (Hamilton's)
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a double old fashioned glass with crushed ice (Navy Grog ice cone). Garnish with mint, cherry, and spent lime shell (grapefruit twist).

Two Sundays ago, I decided to make a drink that I had spotted on Instagram called the Tabu Tabu Grog. Actually, it was not the drink itself that I saw, but an empty Mai Tai glass with the recipe for the Tabu Tabu Grog by Marie King printed on the side. I recognized the fact that several recipes of Marie King of the Tonga Hut were published in the Minimalist Tiki book, so I searched there and found instructions on how to make the drink (besides the same ingredient list). Overall, the combination reminded me of an egg white-less Voodoo Grog, so I was intrigued as to how the lack of egg white, the rum choice, and minor alterations would affect things.

Once prepared, the Tabu Tabu Grog welcomed the nose with a grapefruit and passion fruit bouquet. Next, grapefruit, lime, and honey swirled on the sip, and the swallow meandered in with burly rum, passion fruit, and all spice flavors.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

drones club

1 1/2 oz Cognac (Courvoisier VS)
1/2 oz Dark Rum (Plantation Original Dark)
1 oz Cocchi Vermouth di Torino Sweet Vermouth
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into an old fashioned glass with a large ice cube.

Two Saturdays ago, I made one of the recipes that British bartender Jason Clapham had forwarded on to me that had been published in Difford's Guide. Jason is the Cocktail Member of the St. Edward's MCR in Oxford, and he explained that "basically means I'm responsible for making cocktails for knackered teaching colleagues late at night." The recipe I selected was the Drones Club named after a fictional location in P.G. Wodhouse's comics, and one source described how, "A drone being a male bee that does no work, living off the labor of others, it aptly describes the contemporary Edwardian stereotype of rich, idle young club members, though some of the members have careers and even jobs." For this split based Manhattan riff, he recommended a heavier dark rum with some pot still aspect to it to work well with the Cognac.
The Drones Club welcomed the senses with a dark rum, Cognac, and allspice aroma. Next, grape and caramel on the sip developed into funky rum, Cognac, and allspice on the swallow. Overall, the drink had a very classic feel akin to the early 20th century rye-rum Manhattan, the Pals of Old, as well as more modern ones like the Night Shift.

Friday, April 10, 2020

chiquita old fashioned

1 oz Pineapple Rum (Plantation)
1/2 oz Overproof Jamaican Rum (Smith & Cross)
1/2 oz Banana Liqueur (Giffard)
1/4 oz Amaro Montenegro
3 dash Angostura Bitters

Build in a double old fashioned glass, add a large ice cube, and stir to mix and chill. Garnish with a pineapple leaf and a flower (two pineapple leaves).
Two Fridays ago, I decided to make one of the recipes that New Orleans bartender Brian Maxwell has been publishing this month on his ShakerOfSpirits blog called the Chiquita Old Fashioned. This banana-flavored Old Fashioned featured both funky Jamaican as well as pineapple-infused rum, and it was accented by a touch of amaro and bitters; pineapple rum and crème de banane have worked well together in the past in the Commando Life and the Stack Banana, so I was game to give this one a try. Once prepared, the Chiquita Old Fashioned welcomed the nose with a pineapple, banana, and rum funk bouquet. Next, caramel and tropical fruit on the sip peeled into rum funk, banana, hints of pineapple, allspice, and clove flavors on the swallow.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

hong kong

1 1/2 oz Scotch (Cutty Sark Prohibition)
3/4 oz Italian Vermouth (Cocchi Sweet)
3/4 oz French Vermouth (Noilly Prat Dry)
2 dash Maraschino (1/8 oz Luxardo)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass; Derek Brown recommends that a lemon peel might be a good addition (but I read about that after the fact).

Two Thursday ago, I tuned in for the Distilled Spirits Council's (DISCUS) virtual Spirits United toast to hear about the efforts of the USBG, local distillers, and other organizations to aid in the pandemic crisis. The toast was preceded by Boston alumni and now Columbia Room bartender Justin Cara-Donna making the Hong Kong. The recipe was created by legendary Washington D.C. bartender Henry William Thomas sometime before D.C. went dry in 1917. According to this Derek Brown article in The Atlantic, "Thomas was considered among the best in the world. The 'Bard of Baltimore,' H.L. Mencken, called Thomas a bartender of the 'highest skill and most delicate prudence,' the latter of which was crucial when serving the members of Congress and the state." Brown was able to acquire a copy of the 1926 The Life and Letters of Henry William Thomas, Mixologist that included cocktail recipes created in D.C. before Prohibition.
The Hong Kong came across like a Perfect Bobby Burns or Rob Roy and like a bitters-free Affinity on paper. In the glass, the Hong Kong proffered a peaty Scotch bouquet with a hint of nuttiness to the nose. Next, a grape and malt sip gave way to smoky Scotch leading into nutty cherry flavors on the swallow.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

blue moon

2/3 Booth's Gin (1 3/4 oz Tanqueray)
1/3 French Vermouth (1 oz Noilly Prat Dry)
2 dash Crème Yvette (1/4 oz)
1 dash Orange Bitters (Angostura Orange)

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

Two Wednesdays ago, I ventured into the Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 book and spotted the Blue Moon. This Martini-like recipe was closer to Hugo Ensslin's 1916 Recipes for Mixed Drinks one (but lacked Ensslin's red wine float) as opposed to the citrus juice one akin to an Aviation without Maraschino that became the better known one thanks to Ted Haigh's Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails via Crosby Gaige's 1941 Cocktail Guide and Ladies' Companion.
This Blue Moon began with a lemon, floral, and pine aroma. Next, a light berry sip flowed into juniper, violet, vanilla, and citrus flavors on the swallow. The Crème Yvette was a lot more subtle in its contribution than I expected and only donated hints of berry, floral, and vanilla notes to the mix.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

laughing boy

1/2 tsp Sugar
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1 tsp Sweet Vermouth (1/4 oz Cocchi Sweet Vermouth)
Fill with Puerto Rican Rum (2 oz Rhum Barbancourt)

Dissolve the sugar in the bitters (I added 1 tsp water) in an old fashioned glass. Add vermouth, fill with chipped ice, and fill with rum (add rum and vermouth and fill with crushed ice). Garnish with a lemon peel and orange slices (lemon and orange twists).
Two Tuesdays ago, I selected my 1965 edition of the Esquire Party Guide and spotted the Laughing Boy drink recipe mixed in between all of the food ones. I then recalled Max Toste's 2014 riff that he still called the Laughing Boy at Deep Ellum; Max took the Rum Old Fashioned-Pirate's Cocktail hybrid and added a pair of amari to make it more of a modern Rum Manhattan riff. The original was very simple, so I increased the complexity by swapping in Haitian rum for the call of Puerto Rican. Once built, the Laughing Boy began with an orange and lemon oil nose that preceded a grape and caramel sip. Next, the swallow donated aged rum, herbal, clove, and allspice flavors.

Monday, April 6, 2020

tres hands

3/4 oz Mezcal (A split of Fidencio Espadin & Mezcales de Leyenda Cupreata)
3/4 oz Tequila (Lunazul)
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.

After making the Right Hand just shy of two weeks ago, I revisited Sasha Petraske's Regarding Cocktails and selected the Tres Hands from that Milk & Honey 'Hand' series. I was able to locate elsewhere the exact proportions, and I was looking forward to an agave Negroni. The idea reminded me of my first trip to Mexico to visit a tequila distillery. During one of the dinners, my tablemate declared that she really wanted a tequila Negroni, and once I heard that, I wanted one too. Unfortunately, both the server and the bartender at the restaurant did not know what a Negroni was. Clearly they had plenty of tequila and knew what Campari was, but they did not have any vermouth. I was sure that they did, and they invited me to go behind the bar to look. When I found it, they exclaimed, "Ah, Martini!" and thus the language barrier was broken. I ended up making both tequila Negronis behind their bar (to be billed to our table), and later, I regretted that I might have been "that gringo" for I would not be too keen on anyone stepping behind my bar to make a drink. Mission accomplished but not without wondering if I had overstepped my boundaries. Here at least, it was my own kitchen, and my wife seemed pretty excited by the night's direction too.
The Tres Hands offered up an elegant vegetal agave nose with hints of smoke and orange. Next, a grape sip fell into a smoky agave blending into bitter orange swallow with a chocolate finish.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

diabola cocktail

2/3 Dubonnet (1 3/4 oz)
1/3 Gin (1 oz Tamworth)
2 dash Orgeat (1/4 oz)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass; I added an orange twist.
Two Sundays ago, I reached for my copy of the 1930 Savoy Cocktail Book and spotted the Diabola that came across like a Zaza meeting a Martinez (since both Maraschino and orgeat are a bit nutty). I did choose a more flavorful gin for this, but I left out the bitters suggestion in Erik Ellestad's blog post on the drink that declared, "This is a fine and enjoyable cocktail, significantly improved by the addition of a dash of Angostura Bitters. If you choose to make it yourself, I would advise picking a more aggressively flavored gin, given the ratio of Dubonnet to spirit." In the glass, the Diabola Cocktail donated an orange, grape, and earthy-nutty aroma. Next, the grape-driven sip stepped aside to a cherry, pine, and nutty swallow. Definitely a dash of bitters would have given some depth here and dried things out, but it was quite pleasing on its own.

Saturday, April 4, 2020


1 1/2 oz Old Grand-Dad Bonded Bourbon
1/2 oz Lustau Cream Sherry (Lustau East India Solera Sherry)
1/2 oz Lustau Fino Sherry
1/2 oz Punt e Mes
1/4 oz Zucca Rabarbaro (Sfumato)
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with orange oil from a twist (garnish with the twist too).
Two Saturdays ago, I reached for my 2013 The Cocktail Hour booklet collection and found the Elwood in the whiskey volume. I most likely skipped over the recipe before since I only added Fino sherry to my collection in the last year, and the drink was crafted by Adam Robinson at the Rum Club in Portland, Oregon. This Manhattan riff named after one of the Blues Brothers began with an orange oil over grape and herbal aroma. Next, a grape sip gave way to a Bourbon and smoky bitter herbal swallow with an orange, clove, and allspice finish.

Friday, April 3, 2020

kingston claret

1 oz Pinot Noir (Rascal)
1 oz Brugal Añejo Rum (Flor de Caña Añejo Oro)
3/4 oz Lime Juice
3/4 oz Simple Syrup
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1 dash Fee's Old Fashioned Bitters (Fee's Whiskey Barrel Aged)

Shake with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with 3 drop Fee's Old Fashioned Bitters (Fee's Whiskey Barrel Aged).
Two Fridays ago, I turned to the 2009 Rogue Cocktails book and spotted the Kingston Claret by Chicago's Mike Ryan. Actually, I spotted it first in the 2010 'zine edition that came between the two pressings, and this recipe was dropped when the book was relaunched as Beta Cocktails in 2011. Overall, the recipe was similar to No. 9 Park's take on a Bishop; since we had a bottle of Pinot Noir opened from dinner, I was definitely game to give it a shot. In the glass, the Kingston Claret welcomed the nose with cinnamon, caramel, lime, and grape aromas. Next, grape and lime on the sip sailed into rum, fruity, cinnamon, and clove flavors on the swallow.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

lumberjack negroni

1/2 oz Scotch (Royal Brackla 12 Year)
1/2 oz Apple Brandy (Laird's Bonded)
1 oz Campari
3/4 oz Dry Vermouth (Noilly Prat)
1/4 oz Maple Syrup

Stir with ice, strain into an old fashioned glass with ice, and garnish with an orange twist.

Inspired by the recent recipes with the touch of maple syrup theme, I wondered if it could be adapted to a Negroni. I have only ever tried Campari and maple together in the Cat's Pajamas, and my notes from 11 years ago did not support any synergy. Therefore, I switched the spirit to Scotch and apple brandy which would work great with the maple, and I cut back the vermouth's sweetness by switching to dry. For a name, the apple, maple, and hint of smoke in the whisky made me think of the Vermont forest and dub this one the Lumberjack Negroni.
The Lumberjack Negroni swung with an orange, Scotch, and apple aroma. Next, a maple and white wine sip fell the briny Scotch and apple flavors that melded into orange ones on the swallow along with an apple and maple finish.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

king james

1 oz Rum (Stolen Overproof Jamaican)
1 oz Brandy (Camus VS Cognac)
3/4 oz Sweet Vermouth (Cocchi)
1/4 oz Dry Curaçao (Pierre Ferrand)
2 dash Maraschino Liqueur (1/2 bsp Luxardo)
2 dash Angostura Bitters

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

Two Wednesdays ago, I returned to Imbibe Magazine to make the King James from Los Angeles' Red Bird. The recipe was Tobin Shea's riff on the East India Cocktail; the East India Cocktail was first published in Harry Johnson's 1882 New and Improved Bartenders Manual and also appeared in Charles H. Baker Jr.'s Jigger, Beaker and Glass: Drinking Around the World. Shea's changes were to split the base of brandy with rum and to remove the pineapple syrup in exchange for a decent helping of sweet vermouth. As for the name, I presume that it was a tribute to the king of England who renewed the East India Company's charter in 1609 (his queen mother would have established the charter before her demise).
The King James presented an orange aroma from the twist's oil and the curaçao over that of rum funk. Next, grape, caramel, and a hint of cherry and orange on the sip gave way to brandy, funky rum, and nutty cherry on the swallow with an orange and spice finish. Overall, this version came across with a Manhattan feel as opposed to the original which had a more Old Fashioned one.